Clinical Neurophysiology offers an exciting and varied career within the neurosciences for those interested in combining considerable patient contact with technical skills. It is primarily a diagnostic speciality concerned with recording electrical activity from the nervous system to aid the diagnosis, classification and management of neurological disease. Neurophysiological techniques such as Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) and Electromyography (EMG) are increasingly used to identify surgically remediable conditions such as nerve entrapments and aid safer surgical interventions. Electroencephalography (EEG) is used to classify seizure disorders and select patients for surgical amelioration of epilepsy.
The work involves interaction with a wide range of specialities, including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, Paediatrics, Ophthalmology and Psychiatry, and environments that include theatre and intensive care. Most Clinical Neurophysiologists work in Regional Neuroscience Centres. As well having as general responsibilities many develop subspecialty interests, such as in the work-up of patients for epilepsy surgery, specialised neuromuscular disease or neurophysiologic Intra-Operative Monitoring (nIOM) during surgery on the spinal cord, spinal nerve roots or brainstem. For those with more academic interests the speciality also lends itself to clinical and basic science research.
In the UK Clinical Neurophysiology is a specialty in its own right, though with close links to Neurology. With Foundation competencies Trainees may apply to enter a run-through training scheme, normally in Medicine. After successful completion of two years of Core Medical Training (or Core Neurological Training, the Acute Common Care Stem or Core Paediatric Training), and the acquisition of MRCP or MRCPCH, interested candidates may apply for allocation into Specialty Training in Clinical Neurophysiology. Specialty Training lasts four years and is well supported regionally and nationally through the SAC and professional organisations for both Consultants and specialist registrars. With limited on-call commitments the speciality permits a more sensible balance between work and outside interests than most other specialities. At present there are excellent recruitment opportunities for those interested in joining the speciality.
Further information on the specialty
For further information on the specialty and on the curriculum covered, go to the JRCPTB website.
The British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology (BSCN) is the national organisation through which training days and scientific meetings are facilitated.
Training Programme Director
Dr Alexander Barker
Royal Hallamshire: 0114 271 2570
Julie Benn / Jill Brown
0114 271 2329 / 0114 271 2219
A cairn in the Yorkshire Dales, courtesy of Ian Greig - http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1933185
Banner photo: Nerve conduction studies (median motor), courtesy of Dr Alexander Barker