Dropping out of Medicine for Clinical Psychology and/or Neuroscience

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Medicalstoat
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#1
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#1
Hi there,

Bit of an odd one this. I'm a first year medic, but a graduate, starting the course at 30 after years working in Global Public Health, Education, and Commerce. I applied to medicine wanting a change. I am loving the course, but I find myself drawn in particular to aspects of brain function and neurophysiology.

Given my age and the fact that I run a couple of businesses on the side, I'd quite like to shorten the 5 years to get stuck into working again. At the moment I'm finding it quite easy to balance business and education - the younger students are really helping fill my gaps in biochemistry due to my lack of A levels in Biology or Chemistry, although I'm aware that won't always be the case as the degree ramps up.

Are there other paths where I would get to go in depth into the neurophysiology but also with a clinical focus so I'd get to work directly with patients in a therapeutic perspective? Medicine is fascinating, but I fear during my 5 years I'll probably get bored of Autoimmune Bowel Diseases.
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username910987
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Medicalstoat)
Hi there,

Bit of an odd one this. I'm a first year medic, but a graduate, starting the course at 30 after years working in Global Public Health, Education, and Commerce. I applied to medicine wanting a change. I am loving the course, but I find myself drawn in particular to aspects of brain function and neurophysiology.

Given my age and the fact that I run a couple of businesses on the side, I'd quite like to shorten the 5 years to get stuck into working again. At the moment I'm finding it quite easy to balance business and education - the younger students are really helping fill my gaps in biochemistry due to my lack of A levels in Biology or Chemistry, although I'm aware that won't always be the case as the degree ramps up.

Are there other paths where I would get to go in depth into the neurophysiology but also with a clinical focus so I'd get to work directly with patients in a therapeutic perspective? Medicine is fascinating, but I fear during my 5 years I'll probably get bored of Autoimmune Bowel Diseases.
Ah hi I am a graduate medic too; I also run my own business on the side funnily enough. What course are you on?
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Medicalstoat
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Ahmad*)
Ah hi I am a graduate medic too; I also run my own business on the side funnily enough. What course are you on?
MBBS at King's, yourself?
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Gastroepiploic
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#4
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#4
I'm aware of clinical neurophysiology being a speciality in its own right. Its rather niche and entry is only at ST3 which means four years+ of general medicine post graduation I'm afraid. (I have heard that it gets fun during clinicals with less emphasis on biochem depending on which uni you're at) You're at an ideal stage to change direction however. It gets more difficult the further up you are in the year as time and money has most likely been invested.

Getting into Neuroscience via BSc is difficult, as you normally require an MSc and most likely a PhD. Vacancies are also scarce.


Take everything I said with a pinch of salt as I'm a mature prospective!
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username910987
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#5
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#5
Imperial Graduate Entry course. Do you think it's a bit premature to leave the course and jump to something else? Coming in late into medicine, I think my sense has always been to really sort of make the most of the opportunity, because I think at the end of Medicine there are so many amazing opportunities.
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Medicalstoat
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#6
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Potentially, but I don't want to waste 5 years of my time if it's not something I'm going to be interested in in the long run. It would be different if I could have done 4 years but I don't have any bio or chem background since GCSE so I couldn't go for Graduate Entry. Plus, whilst I'm in medical school it's a bit challenging to keep a balance. The studies mean I can only really dedicate maximum 40 hours a week to my businesses and stay on with the course load (20 hours a week each) and whilst I have great staff in place, it means they are probably not growing at the rate I would like, and that time will probably decrease in later years. I'm sure you're having the same problem? I'd like to be able to find something where I could dedicate more time to them.

The other thing is, I'm not sure that I'd really get what I want, even out of Psychiatry or Neurology. Not only do you not go in depth into the science, you're also dealing primarily with medicating patients rather than talking therapies.

This is why I started looking at part time psychotherapy courses etc. but I'm not sure they'd really give me the science that I like behind the whole thing. Also, as you say, whilst I'm pretty clear what I want to do, this may change and medicine gives so many other clinical options.

Really is a dilemma.
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Medicalstoat
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Gastroepiploic)
I'm aware of clinical neurophysiology being a speciality in its own right. Its rather niche and entry is only at ST3 which means four years+ of general medicine post graduation I'm afraid. (I have heard that it gets fun during clinicals with less emphasis on biochem depending on which uni you're at) You're at an ideal stage to change direction however. It gets more difficult the further up you are in the year as time and money has most likely been invested.

Getting into Neuroscience via BSc is difficult, as you normally require an MSc and most likely a PhD. Vacancies are also scarce.


Take everything I said with a pinch of salt as I'm a mature prospective!
Thanks, this is useful - I think I need to look further into it.
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mediclyfe
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#8
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#8
Have you thought about doing an intercalated course that specialises in your area of interest? The only thing is most of them require you to have already completed 3 years of your med degree and spaces are very sparce but its worth a look.
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Medicalstoat
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#9
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(Original post by mediclyfe)
Have you thought about doing an intercalated course that specialises in your area of interest? The only thing is most of them require you to have already completed 3 years of your med degree and spaces are very sparce but its worth a look.
It's an option. At my age and with the cost of the course, it's certainly not ideal especially if it won't lead anywhere in terms of career progresion, but I'd consider it.
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artful_lounger
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#10
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#10
When you say, "go into neuroscience", what do you mean? Neuroscience is an academic discipline, not a job sector. If you want to go into academia, you would need to get a PhD (and possibly a masters along the way). You can do a PhD in neuroscience after a medical degree, but neither is exactly "being in work". There are some NHS BMS type roles in clinical neurophysiology (as an allied heath profession, rather than medical specialty) I believe, but these would probably expect an appropriate accredited undergraduate course and then structured training scheme.

Clinical psychology is another thing altogether, but my understanding is normally you need a BPS accredited undergraduate course, plus a masters and/or DClinPsych afterwards, or to go into a structured training scheme (maybe both?). Either way, it's unlikely to be much different in terms of experiences than medicine -> foundation -> specialty training except in the subject specific content. You're still going to need to do a lot of academic work and academic style training while working (and quite possibly some rather boring generalist work before you specialise more).

I think in both cases, you aren't really getting what you want from it; you're going to be going from 3-4 years remaining of your MBBS (2-3 of which will be clinical and possibly more engaging for you), to a 3-4 year BA/BSc + MSc/MA, or an MSci undergrad masters course, and/or a PhD or clinical doctorate (3-4 years again), plus some kind of structured training period (like you would have after graduating from medicine, although quite possibly more competitive to get into and with lower pay...). It's probably going to take a similar period of time to qualify in either of those non-medical areas as in a medical analogue of those (e.g. neurology, clinical neurophysiology, psychiatry - the latter probably being the shortest option).

ecolier might have some thoughts, since neuroscience is sort of an academic parallel to neurology in some respects (I think?). However I would note, I think ecolier has noted that they're changing the training for physicianly specialties to have a 3 year post foundation core training period, from 2, before higher specialty training. This might be even less appealing on the medicine front, although as above I don't think in terms of time frames it's much different than the alternatives realistically.
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ecolier
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#11
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
....
:ta:

As @artful_lounger have stated I work as a neurology registrar. I have never studied neuroscience as a degree, and I entered med school as a school leaver after A-Levels. I then went through Core Medical Training (2 years, but soon to be changed to Internal Medicine Training which will be 3 years) and now I am training in neurology.

You can obviously intercalate in neurosciences, the degree will not be more helpful (at ST3 level) compared to another intercalated degree - they only look at whether you have additional qualifications, now what they are.

I also have friends training in clinical neurophysiology, but personally I would hate doing the 4 or 5 things all the time. Feel free to tag / reply if you wanted to know more about training in neurology.
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ella_mai
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#12
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To get into clinical psychology, you would need to do a BPS accredited masters course in psychology that covers all the areas highlighted by the BPS (e.g. social psych, developmental psych, biological psych). After this you must complete the 3 year phd in DClinPsych, which is highly highly competitive (maybe even more so that medicine in terms of applicants to places).

My first degree is in psychology and honestly it did not contain that much neuroscience, only that which is relevant to psychology as a subject. Similarly in clinical psychology, there is less emphasis on neuroscience unless you decide to complete a masters post phd and most don’t. Clinical psychologists deal mostly with cognitive and behavioural methods of alleviating mental health issues in their patients - this is quite different from neuroscience. If you were interested in clinical psychology/neuroscience it may be worth remaining in medical training and specialising in neurology or psychiatry if you’d like a patient-facing role in mental health/neuro.
side note - i’m a psych grad looking more at doing graduate medicine.
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Ninomi
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#13
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I just want to add that there is the option of specialising in neuropsychology following completing the clinical psychology doctorate. My plan is to specialise in neuropsychology, and therefore work with patients with neurological disorders and trauma. However, this is yet another year or two on top of a BSc and DClinPsy.

(I’m a psychology undergrad but my interest is with neuroscience)
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Medicalstoat
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#14
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#14
Thank you all.



(Original post by artful_lounger)
I think in both cases, you aren't really getting what you want from it; you're going to be going from 3-4 years remaining of your MBBS (2-3 of which will be clinical and possibly more engaging for you), to a 3-4 year BA/BSc + MSc/MA, or an MSci undergrad masters course, and/or a PhD or clinical doctorate (3-4 years again), plus some kind of structured training period (like you would have after graduating from medicine, although quite possibly more competitive to get into and with lower pay...).


It would be slightly shorter for me as there are conversion courses. but I see your point - it doesn't save a lot of time and also the medical field certainly has more to offer in terms of variety.


(Original post by ecolier)
:ta:

As @artful_lounger have stated I work as a neurology registrar. I have never studied neuroscience as a degree, and I entered med school as a school leaver after A-Levels. I then went through Core Medical Training (2 years, but soon to be changed to Internal Medicine Training which will be 3 years) and now I am training in neurology.

You can obviously intercalate in neurosciences, the degree will not be more helpful (at ST3 level) compared to another intercalated degree - they only look at whether you have additional qualifications, now what they are.

I also have friends training in clinical neurophysiology, but personally I would hate doing the 4 or 5 things all the time. Feel free to tag / reply if you wanted to know more about training in neurology.
I mean christ, it's a long slog - but I suppose it's what you expect - at least as artful points out there's more clinical contact in MBBS. I think psychiatry would interest me more than neurology, was there a reason you chose it?

(Original post by ella_mai)
My first degree is in psychology and honestly it did not contain that much neuroscience, only that which is relevant to psychology as a subject. Similarly in clinical psychology, there is less emphasis on neuroscience unless you decide to complete a masters post phd and most don’t. Clinical psychologists deal mostly with cognitive and behavioural methods of alleviating mental health issues in their patients - this is quite different from neuroscience.
I did not realise that they would be so separate - I think you all might be right. I should stick with it. Kind of what I thought anyway, I just wanted to see what was out there. Thank you all so much!
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ecolier
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Medicalstoat)
I mean christ, it's a long slog - but I suppose it's what you expect - at least as artful points out there's more clinical contact in MBBS. I think psychiatry would interest me more than neurology, was there a reason you chose it?
Ironically it was actually the neuro-psychiatry things that we see. Higher neurological disorders such as neglect, cognitive problems, bilateral occipital lobe strokes leading to blindsight and Anton's syndrome are what made me want to do Medicine in the first place as a 17 / 18 year old.

I didn't choose psychiatry (I find it immensely interesting though) because of the fact that if they are any acute medical problems, they ship them straight back to the acute hospitals. I also find that the pace is probably too slow for me (as neurology would appear to a neurosurgeon! They find that neurology's pace is slow).
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Medicalstoat
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#16
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(Original post by ecolier)
Ironically it was actually the neuro-psychiatry things that we see. Higher neurological disorders such as neglect, cognitive problems, bilateral occipital lobe strokes leading to blindsight and Anton's syndrome are what made me want to do Medicine in the first place as a 17 / 18 year old.

I didn't choose psychiatry (I find it immensely interesting though) because of the fact that if they are any acute medical problems, they ship them straight back to the acute hospitals. I also find that the pace is probably too slow for me (as neurology would appear to a neurosurgeon! They find that neurology's pace is slow).
How much of the 5 year MBBS is actually based around neuro/psych?
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Gastroepiploic
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Vl

(Original post by Medicalstoat)
Thanks, this is useful - I think I need to look further into it.
No worries. Also research around medical psychotherapy if that floats your boat. Its a subspecialty of psychiatry which goes in more depth and breadth than most undergraduate courses.
Last edited by Gastroepiploic; 3 years ago
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NHSFan
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#18
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(Original post by Medicalstoat)
Potentially, but I don't want to waste 5 years of my time if it's not something I'm going to be interested in in the long run. It would be different if I could have done 4 years but I don't have any bio or chem background since GCSE so I couldn't go for Graduate Entry. Plus, whilst I'm in medical school it's a bit challenging to keep a balance. The studies mean I can only really dedicate maximum 40 hours a week to my businesses and stay on with the course load (20 hours a week each) and whilst I have great staff in place, it means they are probably not growing at the rate I would like, and that time will probably decrease in later years. I'm sure you're having the same problem? I'd like to be able to find something where I could dedicate more time to them.

The other thing is, I'm not sure that I'd really get what I want, even out of Psychiatry or Neurology. Not only do you not go in depth into the science, you're also dealing primarily with medicating patients rather than talking therapies.

This is why I started looking at part time psychotherapy courses etc. but I'm not sure they'd really give me the science that I like behind the whole thing. Also, as you say, whilst I'm pretty clear what I want to do, this may change and medicine gives so many other clinical options.

Really is a dilemma.
I'm intrigued as to how you got in to do the undergraduate course at King's without A levels in Biology or Chemistry. I'd also like to point out that you could have applied to both Warwick and SGUL for the 4 year graduate entry course without these A levels, and they accept any degree subject.
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ecolier
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#19
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(Original post by Medicalstoat)
How much of the 5 year MBBS is actually based around neuro/psych?
Where I personally studied (traditional), there was a module in pre-clinical stages dedicated to neurology (approximately 20 weeks, but only 1 day / 2 sessions a week). During the clinical blocks psychiatry has its own block (7 weeks - 5 days per week) and neurology is lumped with another (I think Elderly care block?). Neurosurgery is not really taught - it's one of the surgical special study modules if we wanted to experience it.

Where I am teaching now (PBL), there is neurology teaching for 2 weeks in Year 2, then in Year 4 there is neurology lumped with several other specialties. I don't know much about psychiatry but I would assume there's a separate block.

Generally speaking, psychiatry (the basics) are fairly well taught as the main medical curriculum these days are geared towards producing GPs (and GPs need to know a bit about mental health!), while neurology is generally less well covered (even though neuro exam is a major part of assessments) - hence it is often feared by most medical students and junior doctors!
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Medicalstoat
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#20
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(Original post by Gastroepiploic)
Vl


No worries. Also research around medical psychotherapy if that floats your boat. Its a subspecialty of psychiatry which goes in more depth and breadth than most undergraduate courses.
Thanks. I'm aware of medical psychotherapy - talking about a long haul though... Anyway have to say, I love the name - it's my favourite artery!
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