justineooo
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Hello! So for a few years now I've been interested in the brain, especially after reading several Norman Doidge's and Oliver Sacks' books. Hence, I thought about studying neuroscience, however, I don't think that working in a laboratory setting is for me (although I'm not sure either). I'd like to be involved with people and directly help others, so I thought about going into medicine and later specializing in neurology. However, I can't say that I'm really that interested in the human body as a whole, so the whole program may seem daunting in the end. On the other hand, I thought about choosing the hardest option (medicine) first and trying it out. Changing the course if I notice that it is definitely not for me or graduating, specializing and if neurology turned out to be not the way - re-qualifying and maybe doing a master or something in neuroscience? Not sure if that's even possible. I'm really stuck between these two options, so any advice/insights would be highly appreciated !

P.S. Another alternative route that I've thought about was getting a Bachelor's in neuroscience and then doing a Master in neuropsychology, because I've read that it also involves patient contact.
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ecolier
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(Original post by justineooo)
Hello! So for a few years now I've been interested in the brain, especially after reading several Norman Doidge's and Oliver Sacks' books. Hence, I thought about studying neuroscience, however, I don't think that working in a laboratory setting is for me (although I'm not sure either). I'd like to be involved with people and directly help others, so I thought about going into medicine and later specializing in neurology. However, I can't say that I'm really that interested in the human body as a whole, so the whole program may seem daunting in the end. On the other hand, I thought about choosing the hardest option (medicine) first and trying it out. Changing the course if I notice that it is definitely not for me or graduating, specializing and if neurology turned out to be not the way - re-qualifying and maybe doing a master or something in neuroscience? Not sure if that's even possible. I'm really stuck between these two options, so any advice/insights would be highly appreciated !

P.S. Another alternative route that I've thought about was getting a Bachelor's in neuroscience and then doing a Master in neuropsychology, because I've read that it also involves patient contact.
My personal opinion is always if you're torn between medicine and something else, do something else. (However, as a neurologist I would impulsively suggest otherwise!)

To train as a neurologist these days, you'd have to (obviously) do the medical degree, then 2 years of foundation training and 3 years of internal medicine training. The majority of this time (at least 10 years) will have minimal neurology / neuroscience tuition.

Neurology has recently (i.e. as of next year) switched to a Group 1 specialty - i.e. you have to do general medical on-calls as part of neurology specialty training also. This wasn't the case until this year (2020/21 start). So you wouldn't get to work purely as a neurology doctor until at least a consultant - previously (including me) you would have minimal general medical work from ST3 onwards.

I can't give you any advice regarding neuroscience since I have never done that - but just to remind you that having a neuroscience degree will not give you any advantage to train in neurology (over other degree subjects, you would have a generic few extra points for having a degree of some sort).
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justineooo
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(Original post by ecolier)
My personal opinion is always if you're torn between medicine and something else, do something else. (However, as a neurologist I would impulsively suggest otherwise!)

To train as a neurologist these days, you'd have to (obviously) do the medical degree, then 2 years of foundation training and 3 years of internal medicine training. The majority of this time (at least 10 years) will have minimal neurology / neuroscience tuition.

Neurology has recently (i.e. as of next year) switched to a Group 1 specialty - i.e. you have to do general medical on-calls as part of neurology specialty training also. This wasn't the case until this year (2020/21 start). So you wouldn't get to work purely as a neurology doctor until at least a consultant - previously (including me) you would have minimal general medical work from ST3 onwards.

I can't give you any advice regarding neuroscience since I have never done that - but just to remind you that having a neuroscience degree will not give you any advantage to train in neurology (over other degree subjects, you would have a generic few extra points for having a degree of some sort).
Could you share a bit more information of what neurologists do? Is there a lot of neuroscientific work in the end? If not, what is the base of it? And do you think it's an option to change your qualification if you have a Bachelor in medicine? Because I think that a medical degree is quite useful and, well, still a degree that would open quite a lot of doors, especially in a scientific environment.
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ecolier
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(Original post by justineooo)
Could you share a bit more information of what neurologists do?
Ward work
Clinics
Referrals
Paperwork!

(In addition: some clinical research, lots of teaching (but that's me personally because I love teaching) and little bit of management)

Is there a lot of neuroscientific work in the end?
Not really. What do you mean by neuroscientific work? Remember I am a doctor not a scientist.

If not, what is the base of it?
Don't understand this question

And do you think it's an option to change your qualification if you have a Bachelor in medicine?
There is the option of course, but most people will end up being doctors for life.

Because I think that a medical degree is quite useful and, well, still a degree that would open quite a lot of doors, especially in a scientific environment.
That is correct.
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justineooo
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(Original post by ecolier)
Ward work
Clinics
Referrals
Paperwork!

(In addition: some clinical research, lots of teaching (but that's me personally because I love teaching) and little bit of management)



Not really. What do you mean by neuroscientific work? Remember I am a doctor not a scientist.



Don't understand this question



There is the option of course, but most people will end up being doctors for life.



That is correct.
By "neuroscientific" work I mean what part of your work as a neurologist does the in depth knowledge about the brain take? Well, obviously, without the knowledge nothing could be done, but still, could you maybe share what is it like to be a neurologist, what do you mean by clinical research? If a patient seeks help with a particular problem, what is the work ethic of a neurologist in such a case? Besides, could I ask what drew you to neurology and were your expectations met? In addition, do you know anything about neuropsychology? Because from my research, neurologist and neuropsychologists often collaborate.
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chazwomaq
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I'm a psychologist (albeit not a neuropsychologist) rather than a doctor so I'll try and give you some advice in that direction.

The training pathway for clinical neuropsych is 3 years bachelor in BPS accredited degree -> postgraduate training, usually in clinical psychology (work experience is usually required before you do this) -> BPS qualification in clinical neuroscience (2 years). Best info is here: https://careers.bps.org.uk/area/neuro

So overall, that's about 8-10 years at a minimum, so not very different from medical training.

The big difference is that if you get on and pass a medical degree, your job is more or less guaranteed. Following the above route gives you no guarantees. Most people with psychology or neuroscience degrees do not become professional psychologists. There is huge oversupply of graduates compared with jobs. The high rejection rate for studying clinical psychology, for example, is a big bottleneck - it's about as hard as getting on to a medical degree.

So I would say if you're torn, the medical degree is a much better option. Neuro is a specialised area so it's hard to know whether it's for you before you've studied it. Medicine will give you broad education in many areas. If it turns out you neuro isn't for you can easily move into an alternative. That isn't true with the BPS route. Medicine will open doors for your future. Psychology will close them.

Oh, and you get paid more as a doctor. Of course, the training and work is very different.
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justineooo
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(Original post by chazwomaq)
I'm a psychologist (albeit not a neuropsychologist) rather than a doctor so I'll try and give you some advice in that direction.

The training pathway for clinical neuropsych is 3 years bachelor in BPS accredited degree -> postgraduate training, usually in clinical psychology (work experience is usually required before you do this) -> BPS qualification in clinical neuroscience (2 years). Best info is here: https://careers.bps.org.uk/area/neuro

So overall, that's about 8-10 years at a minimum, so not very different from medical training.

The big difference is that if you get on and pass a medical degree, your job is more or less guaranteed. Following the above route gives you no guarantees. Most people with psychology or neuroscience degrees do not become professional psychologists. There is huge oversupply of graduates compared with jobs. The high rejection rate for studying clinical psychology, for example, is a big bottleneck - it's about as hard as getting on to a medical degree.

So I would say if you're torn, the medical degree is a much better option. Neuro is a specialised area so it's hard to know whether it's for you before you've studied it. Medicine will give you broad education in many areas. If it turns out you neuro isn't for you can easily move into an alternative. That isn't true with the BPS route. Medicine will open doors for your future. Psychology will close them.

Oh, and you get paid more as a doctor. Of course, the training and work is very different.
Thank you so much! Do you think that it would be possible to switch from medicine to neuroscience/neuropsychology? Like do a Master's or something?
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ecolier
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(Original post by justineooo)
By "neuroscientific" work I mean what part of your work as a neurologist does the in depth knowledge about the brain take?
We need to know applied anatomy - remember we are still clinical doctors first and foremost.

This is our curriculum: https://www.jrcptb.org.uk/sites/defa...02013%29_0.pdf (to skip the generic text just go to Page 9)

Well, obviously, without the knowledge nothing could be done, but still, could you maybe share what is it like to be a neurologist, what do you mean by clinical research?
Clinical research = new drug / device comes along; we take part / lead a clinical trial to evaluate how it works. I also use the term loosely to refer to audits and quality improvement projects too.

If a patient seeks help with a particular problem, what is the work ethic of a neurologist in such a case?
Very much like probably solving - history is the cornerstone of neurology. Examination is mainly to confirm the history and your suspicions.

These days, due to COVID-19 a lot of consultations are done over the phone. So less examination is done - not too much of a problem for subspecialties like headache or cognition; but not so good for movement disorders.

Besides, could I ask what drew you to neurology and were your expectations met?
The man who mistook his wife for a hat and Phantoms in the brain which initially inspired me to do medicine in the first place. Yes - but my priorities are now different to when I first started. Obviously we don't see patients with prosopagnosia all the time (which would be interesting), but now what motivates me is seeing rare diseases, publising their findings, attending conferences worldwide (I can't wait until COVID-19 is over!), and enjoying the good work-life balance that our specialty offers!

In addition, do you know anything about neuropsychology? Because from my research, neurologist and neuropsychologists often collaborate.
We collaborate with liaison psychiatrists where I work, looking after patients with functional neurological disorders - which is a big part of our workload.
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justineooo
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(Original post by ecolier)
We need to know applied anatomy - remember we are still clinical doctors first and foremost.

This is our curriculum: https://www.jrcptb.org.uk/sites/defa...02013%29_0.pdf (to skip the generic text just go to Page 9)



Clinical research = new drug / device comes along; we take part / lead a clinical trial to evaluate how it works. I also use the term loosely to refer to audits and quality improvement projects too.



Very much like probably solving - history is the cornerstone of neurology. Examination is mainly to confirm the history and your suspicions.

These days, due to COVID-19 a lot of consultations are done over the phone. So less examination is done - not too much of a problem for subspecialties like headache or cognition; but not so good for movement disorders.



The man who mistook his wife for a hat and Phantoms in the brain which initially inspired me to do medicine in the first place. Yes - but my priorities are now different to when I first started. Obviously we don't see patients with prosopagnosia all the time (which would be interesting), but now what motivates me is seeing rare diseases, publising their findings, attending conferences worldwide (I can't wait until COVID-19 is over!), and enjoying the good work-life balance that our specialty offers!



We collaborate with liaison psychiatrists where I work, looking after patients with functional neurological disorders - which is a big part of our workload.
Did you know that you wanted to go into neurology from the beginning of your medicine studies?
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ecolier
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(Original post by justineooo)
Did you know that you wanted to go into neurology from the beginning of your medicine studies?
Pretty much, but just not sure at the start.
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chazwomaq
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(Original post by justineooo)
Thank you so much! Do you think that it would be possible to switch from medicine to neuroscience/neuropsychology? Like do a Master's or something?
I'm not sure actually. Although medicine is one of the best degrees you can get and most life sciences masters courses would be mad to turn them away, there are BPS requirements if the degree is accredited, which medicine will not confer. It is always possible to complete a postgraduate conversion course to gain BPS accreditation if your first degree is not psychology - but then you would be really racking up the degrees (medicine - conversion course - Masters).

It would also be an odd move. A medical degree qualifies you to have one of the best careers in the world. A neuropsychology degrees qualifies you for nothing, the one exception being the BPS QiCN (https://www.bps.org.uk/psychologists...europsychology), for which you already have to be a clinical psychologist. However, some doctors do complete Masters or PhD degrees alongside their jobs.
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justineooo
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So, I'm a senior in high school and I'm really indecisive (what a surprise). I need advice!
My story:
I've always been a good student (not a top one though), interested in a variety of subjects. After reading a couple of books I found myself interested in the brain and after doing thorough research found myself stuck between choosing a medical path and becoming a neurologist or studying psychology and then getting a master's in neuropsychology.
The problem with medicine is that I'm currently considering only this one path - neurology (maybe psychiatry too), but what about the rest rigorous program of medicine? I've heard so many stories about how hard, draining and stressful studying medicine and doing residency is, that now I'm simply scared of this path. What prevents me from going into biomedicine or straight to neuroscience is that I'd like to work with patients, experience this fulfillment after helping someone (having meaning in my work is extremely important). I'm also pretty sensitive and I'm afraid that I won't be tough enough for a job in a medical field.
When I thought that I've cleared my area of interest, my old aspirations started coming back - art history, investigative journalism. I'm sincerely interested in a lot of things and scared of becoming too narrow-minded if I were to choose medicine.

It's a pretty complex situation and I'd like to hear second opinions to get a better grasp of what my options are and what I should do.
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ecolier
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(Original post by justineooo)
...It's a pretty complex situation and I'd like to hear second opinions to get a better grasp of what my options are and what I should do.
You shouldn't be fixated on a specialty before medical school. Yes you can of course be interested in a subejct (e.g. the brain) but the rest of your medical course will be incredibly boring if you are only interested in the brain.

And yes, you'll need to work for at least 5 years before starting your training in neurology. It's hard working as a general junior doctor.

P.S. It's not called residency in the UK, if you're planning to work and train here. It's just called specialty training.
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Rxwa
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(Original post by justineooo)
So, I'm a senior in high school and I'm really indecisive (what a surprise). I need advice!
My story:
I've always been a good student (not a top one though), interested in a variety of subjects. After reading a couple of books I found myself interested in the brain and after doing thorough research found myself stuck between choosing a medical path and becoming a neurologist or studying psychology and then getting a master's in neuropsychology.
The problem with medicine is that I'm currently considering only this one path - neurology (maybe psychiatry too), but what about the rest rigorous program of medicine? I've heard so many stories about how hard, draining and stressful studying medicine and doing residency is, that now I'm simply scared of this path. What prevents me from going into biomedicine or straight to neuroscience is that I'd like to work with patients, experience this fulfillment after helping someone (having meaning in my work is extremely important). I'm also pretty sensitive and I'm afraid that I won't be tough enough for a job in a medical field.
When I thought that I've cleared my area of interest, my old aspirations started coming back - art history, investigative journalism. I'm sincerely interested in a lot of things and scared of becoming too narrow-minded if I were to choose medicine.

It's a pretty complex situation and I'd like to hear second opinions to get a better grasp of what my options are and what I should do.
I'm literally in the same situation as you! Even now, I'm thinking to switch to medicine after completing my first year of studying psychology with neuroscience but I'm not sure if that will happen since I'm just stuck between the two courses. The only thing that loses my interest to study medicine is the amount of years and how challenging it is. Here in the UK, it is 5 or 6 years which is super long but I also heard that after you graduate from a psychology degree, you'd have to do a masters or post graduate degree as part of your training and that's also long too. However, it doesn't feel long compared to medicine as with medicine it's 5/6 years + foundation training + speciality training depending on what speciality you want to get into.
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justineooo
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(Original post by Rxwa)
I'm literally in the same situation as you! Even now, I'm thinking to switch to medicine after completing my first year of studying psychology with neuroscience but I'm not sure if that will happen since I'm just stuck between the two courses. The only thing that loses my interest to study medicine is the amount of years and how challenging it is. Here in the UK, it is 5 or 6 years which is super long but I also heard that after you graduate from a psychology degree, you'd have to do a masters or post graduate degree as part of your training and that's also long too. However, it doesn't feel long compared to medicine as with medicine it's 5/6 years + foundation training + speciality training depending on what speciality you want to get into.
So nice to hear from someone with the same struggle! And yes, the length of studying is approximately the same both in medicine (with training, specialization) and psychology (with masters + PhD), so I've omitted this factor when thinking which path to take. What is your main reason for considering transferring to medicine after one year of psychology? Because now I'm struggling to decide which path to try out first.
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ecolier
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You can't "transfer to medicine". You'd have to drop out of your current course and reapply to medicine again.

My usual advice is this circumstance is to finish your current degree and apply to graduate entry medicine.

As a school leaver, never do a degree with the sole aim to do graduate entry medicine though.
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Ramipril
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(Original post by justineooo)
Because now I'm struggling to decide which path to try out first.
People change their minds on things all the time and it's best to be open about options. But I wouldn't view either as 'trying out'. Ultimately you'll be dedicating time and money to both paths so it's best to try to be a bit more sure.
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justineooo
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(Original post by ecolier)
You can't "transfer to medicine". You'd have to drop out of your current course and reapply to medicine again.

My usual advice is this circumstance is to finish your current degree and apply to graduate entry medicine.

As a school leaver, never do a degree with the sole aim to do graduate entry medicine though.
I understand that one does not simply transfer to medicine. I meant that in a way of changing the career path. I'm currently a high school student and choosing which road to take.
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justineooo
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(Original post by Ramipril)
People change their minds on things all the time and it's best to be open about options. But I wouldn't view either as 'trying out'. Ultimately you'll be dedicating time and money to both paths so it's best to try to be a bit more sure.
Yes, I agree. Going into a particular degree with a mindset of possibly dropping out is not really great, but at the same time I believe that actually trying to study in the field can show you whether you'll like it (based on the content etc.). What it doesn't really show is whether you'll enjoy the job afterwards. That's the case with psychology/neuropsychology for me. I know that the course is going to be interesting for me, but I'm not sure about the job prospects afterwards, because now I think that I'd like to treat patients.
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