Neurologists diagnose and treat injuries and disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spine, head and nerves. Common neurological conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, seizures, strokes, tumours, back pain, multiple sclerosis and infections or injuries to the spinal cord. Neurologists take a detailed patient history and perform a neurological examination to assess their patient’s sensations, muscle movements, speech, vision, and mental status. Diagnostic methods also include physical examination, lumbar puncture, biopsies, nerve conduction studies, electromyography and electroencephalography studies, brain scans and other medical imaging. Neurologists work in multidisciplinary teams, providing specialist care and services in both acute, emergency and outpatient settings in hospitals and clinics. They manage their patient’s neurological condition, which may be acute and require intensive care and surgery, chronic and require ongoing pharmacological treatment and rehabilitation, or terminal and require palliative care. Neurologists don’t perform surgery but liaise with surgeons and other medical specialists. They also coordinate care with Allied Health services or Palliative Care teams. To become a Neurologist, doctors complete 3 years of RACP basic training in Adult Internal Medicine, followed by Advanced Training in Neurology, a 3-year RACP program leading to Fellowship and specialist registration with AHPRA. At this senior level, Neurologists are responsible for providing clinical leadership, training registrars, and making research and development contributions.
Registrars (Neurology) are registered doctors who have completed their medical degree and pre-vocational training (internship and residency/PGY2-3). They have attained general registration with AHPRA and can now undertake specialist/or vocational training positions to broaden and refine their scope of practice and gain experience, skills and competency in their chosen area of medicine. Registrars are very important members of the integrated and multi-disciplinary health care team. They have increasing responsibility for patient care, oversee and support junior doctors and staff, participate in professional development activities and continue to receive important guidance, training, and support from senior staff. They work in a range of primary, secondary, tertiary, clinical, laboratory and acute care settings, in hospitals, private practices and community clinics. Registrars who work in this field are undertaking advanced training in neurology and its clinical practice. They work under Neurologists/specialist consultants and develop skills, clinical expertise, and valuable work experience in providing comprehensive medical care, diagnosis and treatment for patients with neurological conditions.
Nurses (Neurology) work in acute Neurology units and acute stroke units in hospitals providing clinical nursing care to patients with complex neurological conditions and medical needs. They also work in private and community clinics, and in rehabilitation units in both inpatient and outpatient settings. They assist the Neurologist, fill and prepare paperwork, monitor patients, provide clinical and therapeutic support, and patient-family-focussed nursing care.