Working life (CN)
This page provides useful information about the roles and responsibilities of clinical neurophysiologists, where they work, who they work with and what they feel about their role.
“I have a strong interest in neurosciences and wanted a job that would require patient contact, and both technical and practical skills. The freedom from continuity of clinical care and onerous on-call demands are also attractive benefits and allow me to achieve a reasonable work-life balance.” (Clinical neurologist)
How your time is spent
Clinical neurophysiologists perform the clinical lead role within a department. They work with healthcare scientists specialising in neurophysiology and managerial staff to ensure its smooth running. They provide supervision and clinical support to technical staff in the department, on the wards and in theatre.
Most days involve undertaking electromyography (EMG) clinics to diagnose neuromuscular conditions and electroencephalogram (EEG) reporting sessions. On average, neurophysiologists see around five EMG patients and report ten EEGs per day. They also supervise a similar number of procedures undertaken by technicians and SPRs.
The job may also include sub-specialty work, supervision and teaching and managerial roles and committee work.
On-call and working hours
Clinical neurophysiology is mainly delivered during normal working hours. Many departments also provide an out-of-hours service for emergencies. Just over 25% of consultants say they are routinely on-call at weekends.
A sizeable proportion of the work is with outpatients, but importantly the service also supports inpatient care, intensive therapy units (ITUs) and theatres.
Patient referrals to neurophysiology originate from many specialties, particularly neurology and neurosurgery. Other referrals are from:
- general medicine
Who you will work with?
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Clinical neurologists work alongside:
- clinical scientists and healthcare science practitioners specialising in neurophysiology
- healthcare support workers
- medical secretaries and administrative staff
They also work closely with:
Attractions and challenges of the role
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The intellectual challenge of dealing with complex neurological conditions is very enjoyable. Also, the high level of patient contact, despite being a diagnostic specialty, can be rewarding although long-term patient care is not a key feature of this specialty.
Other attractions are the opportunities for flexible working and being able to achieve a sensible work-life balance as the service is mainly delivered during normal working hours.
Delivering an efficient and timely service within staffing and resource allocations can sometimes be challenging.