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What does a Neurologist do?

Do the inner workings of the human mind fascinate you? Have you ever wondered how the brain works and controls all of our everyday functions? Do you want to work in the medical field? Then becoming a neurologist may be the career for you. Neurologists are doctors who specialize in treatment of the nervous system, mainly the brain and spinal cord.

neurologist

A mind for education

Like most jobs in the medical field, if you want to become a neurologist, the education will take several years to complete. It requires a four year pre-medical degree, a four year medical school degree resulting in a MD or DO. Then you follow that with a one-year internship in internal medicine or surgery, and finish off with a minimum of a three year neurology residency program (the length may vary by state). This educational training, certification and licensure are the main requirements for the job.

Perks to blow your mind

In addition to the perk of helping people, salary and benefits can be a great perk for a neurologist. You could make a very lucrative salary in a field that is growing faster than the average job in the market. If you run your own practice, you also have the ability to set your own hours. Or if you work for a hospital or another group, you can have the added perks of bonuses based on performance. You could also work in the education industry for medical universities. Working for another organization gives you back-up in your field and allows for you to take more time off, if wanted.

Advancing in the field

As a neurologist, there is still room to advance in the field. If you work with a group, you can move to a head or managerial role in your office. You can also move to a chair or upper administrative position at the hospital or university that you work for. You can teach residents and other physicians and work your way up with experience and additional training, always staying up to date on new policies and procedures.

A great work environment is a no-brainer

The environment you get to work in greatly depends on what company you work for or whether you go into business for yourself. You can work in your office with a small staff, or a larger office with a large staff. You can work in the education environment where your time is split between educating students and residents and seeing patients. You can work in well lit, sterile environments, and with equipment to perform tests such as a CAT scan, an MRI, an EEG, and an EMG/NCV, for your patients. This will give you access to tools that other physicians often do not, because they are set aside for your specialty.

What does a Neurosurgeon do?

Does the complexity of the brain fascinate you? Are you good with your hands? Do issues such as phantom pain interest you?

Neurosurgeons care for two of the most delicate and complex parts of the human body: the brain and the nervous system. The name neurosurgeon is slightly misleading as neurosurgeons do much more than just operate on the brain or spinal cord. They are also nonoperative caretakers of the nervous system and all of its surrounding blood supply. As such, they are critical to the health and well-being of the many people who have experienced brain injuries or have nervous system disorders.

Neurosurgeons most often work for a hospital or an outpatient surgery center, in a sterile and bright environment. You can expect to work long and odd hours, spending much of that time in surgery and on your feet.

neurosurgeon

You need to be alert, attentive, and ready to problem solve the entire time you’re working. You never know when a delicate surgery on a brain tumor may take an unexpected turn, or when a patient’s seizures may suddenly require surgical intervention.

Becoming a neurosurgeon: education and training

If you want to be a neurosurgeon, you need to have both a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree. Since both undergraduate school and medical school are four years long, you can expect to be in school for a total of eight years.

During med school, you will take classes and spend time in laboratories covering the basics, such as anatomy, biochemistry, and pharmacology to name a few, for the first two years. Your last two years will be spent rotating through different specialties to get experience working directly with patients, under a physician’s supervision. After med school, you will mostly likely spend between three and eight years doing internships and a residency. (A residency is basically a paid internship in your area of specialty.)

Note that med school is very difficult to get into, so you should work hard as an undergraduate so that your transcripts are excellent, take care to get good letters of recommendation, and study hard for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Before admission to med school, you can also expect to sit down for an interview with each school’s admissions committee so that you can be evaluated face to face.

Salary and career outlook

Medical school is demanding and expensive, but the job prognosis, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is very good.

As a neurosurgeon, you are part of a field that is seeing numerous advances in treatment options and many new ways to help people with serious and debilitating illness, thanks to technology.

What does a Sterile Processing Technician do?

A Sterile Processing Technician ensures the proper sterilization of medical devices, surgical instruments, supplies and equipment for surgeries. British surgeon Sir Joseph Lister, pioneered antiseptic surgery and wound care in the late 1860s; prior to that, contamination from bacteria often led to death.

Major job requirements for a sterile processing technician

A sterile processing technician (SP tech)–also called a sterile processor, service-aide, or central service technician–is responsible for sterilizing the tools of the surgical trade (e.g., instrument sets that include scalpels) and making sure the accessories of surgery (e.g., gloves, masks, sheets) are available and sterile. They pack, store, and handle sterile supplies, with a focus on infection control and aseptic techniques.

sterile processing technician

Techs also clean and maintain very delicate computerized and robotic equipment and see that items are packed and stored to maintain sterilization standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There are three areas that sterile processing technicians work in: a decontamination area, sterile packing and prepping area, and sterile storage area. Before entering the work area, an SP tech puts on personal protective equipment required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including a head cover, mask, gloves, goggles, shoe cover and an apron if necessary.

Educational and training requirements to be a sterile processing technician

Training lasting anywhere from weeks to a year or more is available through online courses as well as community colleges and vocational schools. Some programs require an externship or practicum. Certain states require a practical certifying exam administered by an accredited national organization such as the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution. Even if certification is not required, certified technicians are paid more.

What is the job outlook for sterile processing technicians?

There is considerable demand and job security for SP techs. As the number of surgeries increases for the aging population’s health needs, and technology advances, employment of SP techs will increase. The majority of jobs are in hospitals, but also in medical clinics, doctors’ offices and nursing homes worldwide. There is a great need for skilled technicians internationally to ensure safe delivery of healthcare and to help prevent pandemics where illnesses are transferred due to lack of sterile facilities and tools.

A sterile processing technician may become an operating room technician or a surgical technician because of the foundation sterile processing provides. After two years of a combination of experience and education, a sterile processing technician may become a surgical instrument technician. With additional training, some technicians advance to senior supervisory positions.