It would be wise to find a mentor who can give advice and guide you on your path to becoming a neurologist. A good mentor can be one of the neurology faculty members at your university. It's important to connect with your mentor on a personal level, and find someone who has an interest in you. You may be able to get a glimpse of what it's like to be in this career by shadowing a neurologist. Sometimes neurology residents have 'bedside teaching conferences,’ and this experience can be a great way to solidify what you've learned. If at all possible, consider doing research by connecting with researchers or research programs within your university. There are also research scholarships available for medical students that you may be able to take advantage of.
The following are highlights of advice for medical students studying neurology, compiled by the American Academy of Neurology.
Create a solid foundation in neuroanatomy
Knowing the neural and motor pathways and functions of systems will make learning neurological disorders and diseases much easier. Keep in mind that neurology is a logical discipline that emphasizes first localizing the lesion based on the clinical history and physical exam, and then determining the most likely diagnosis.
Practice makes perfect
Quiz yourself on pathways until it becomes second nature. Group study is often helpful and web-based resources, such as Utah Med have great online quizzes.
Learn the Neurologic Exam
Even for physicians, the neurologic exam can be intimidating. It is important to conduct its components in a specific order: Mental Status, Cranial Nerves, Motor Sensory, Reflexes, Coordination and Gait. Practising neurologists invariably advise students to develop a logical and systematic approach that they can follow almost without thinking.
Read clinical vignettes
Seeing or hearing about patients and their cases often makes it easier to remember the pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.
Read these books to prepare for board exams
- Netter’s Atlas of Human Neuroscience (3rd edition), David L. Felten, M. Kerry O’Banion, Mary Summo Maida
- Neuroanatomy, An Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems, Duane E. Haines
- High-Yield Neuroanatomy (5th edition), Douglas J. Gould, Jennifer K. Brueckner-Collins