Neuropsychiatrist: Education and Career Information
If you are interested in careers that research and evaluate how the brain works, you may do well in a career as a neuropsychiatrist. This is a challenging, yet lucrative position in the field of medicine that deals with the brain and behaviors. This career path requires an extensive education, so a full commitment is needed prior to making this decision.
What does a neuropsychiatrist do?
A neuropsychiatrist works to diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders that are present as a result of different conditions affecting the nervous system. This role helps individuals deal with psychological effects of those conditions. A neuropsychiatrist administers neurological exams and evaluates a patient’s motor functions, coordination, reflexes, cranial nerves and gait posture. A neuropsychiatrist conducts interviews to determine the mental status. The neuropsychiatrist develops a treatment plan and prescribes medications and therapy.
A neuropsychiatrist plans interventions and develops protocol for treatment. They also work to educate families on how to deal with the patient and their condition. They conduct research and can work with law enforcement or attorneys in providing witness testimony, and collaborate with pharmaceutical companies in conducting tests and trials for treating neurological patient. They keep up with trends and are consultants for medical practitioners and other professionals.
You will find a neuropsychiatrist in hospitals, clinics or research facilities.
How much does a neuropsychiatrist earn?
The average salary for a neuropsychiatrist on the low end is $56,879 annually, with a midpoint at $86,000. This salary can go as high as $155,000 yearly. These salaries are contingent based on the number of years they have been working, the facility, area of the country, and educational background.
What skills does a neuropsychiatrist need?
Reading Comprehension: The neuropsychiatrist must be able to understand and comprehend written sentences and paragraphs in research and work related documents. There are many different trends and papers that are issued within the industry. The neuropsychiatrist must be able to read and apply different concepts and opinions where necessary to enhance their practice.
Active Listening: This role must be able to listen to others and fully comprehend what is being said. They must be able to ask questions to understand different points, and staying attentive throughout the conversation.
Critical Thinking: This role must be able to use logic and reasoning to identify weaknesses and strengths, and offer solutions and alternatives to problems. There are many different variations of neurological conditions – the neuropsychiatrist must be able to assess and weigh different behaviors to come to a logical and sound conclusion.
Problem Solving: The neuropsychiatrist must be able to identify problems and review information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Writing: It is important to communicate in writing for your audience. As a psychiatrist, being able to write clear notes and opinions on research and other diagnoses is important. There are many different vendors and other healthcare practitioners who may rely on this information to come to conclusions on their own studies. Additionally, many neuropsychiatrists publish papers and peer-reviewed articles. There must be a strong command of the English language and a passion for clear and concise writing.
Skills for Instruction: It is important to be able to educate others to help them understand what is going on with the patient. Being able to guide a number of diverse individuals on how to complete certain tasks or understand a situation is an integral part of this job.
Time Management: Due to the nature of the job, it is important to be able to effectively manage time and handle a variety of tasks all at one time.
Coordination: Being able to successfully adjust actions as they relate to others, and coordinate services as they are needed is important.
Monitoring: must be able to monitor and assess the performance of individuals and others to make improvements and take the proper corrective actions.
Decision Making: Being able to make concrete decisions on a number of topics is important. When dealing with such sensitive topics and patients, it is important to be able to take a number of variables into consideration to get things done.
A residency program is required in neurology or psychiatry. It is important to work in a clinical setting under the supervision of neurologists and psychiatrists with experience. During this time, students should also complete clerkships.
The first step in becoming a neuropsychiatrist is to enter into a bachelor’s degree program, which is four years. The coursework involved includes a lot of the sciences, including chemistry, biology and English composition. Although this is a pre-med track, there are schools that do not offer pre-med programs. If you find one that does, this is a good idea, but if not, following the coursework for those schools is key.
Once the bachelor’s degree is completed, students must sit for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply for medical school. Once enrolled, this coursework is very rigorous to prepare students for a number of areas. During this time, students learn how to diagnose and treat mental illnesses, and learn about the brain and nervous system. This is a detailed and focused program that goes beyond the standard curriculum of a trained psychiatrist.
Once medical school has been completed, graduates must obtain a license to practice medicine. They have to sit for and take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX).
Students must complete a residency in psychiatry, neurology or both, working under supervision from a neurologist or psychiatrist. These residencies usually take place in the hospital setting. Once the residency is completed, graduates can obtain certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Once certified as a neuropsychiatrist, another fellowship in neuropsychiatry can be obtain. This will lead to being eligible to sit for a certification exam where the student will be granted board certification in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry. This is issued by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.
This is a very challenging position, but will be beneficial to the right person. If you are up for the challenge, and enjoy learning, this may be the right fit for you.
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