This is an exciting time to be a part of neurology. Recent advances in the understanding of diseases of the nervous system are expanding our ability to help patients. New technologies, particularly in neuroimaging, are enhancing our ability to localize and define neurological disorders. An ever-expanding array of treatment options allows neurologists to make a substantive impact in their patients’ quality of life and longevity. For those who enjoy diagnostic conundrums, the practice of neurology is a challenge. It remains a discipline that requires detailed and accurate history taking and physical examination skills; a discipline in which a diagnosis can be made given enough knowledge of applied anatomy and pathology. In other words, good “detective work” is essential to the practice of neurology. For those interested in primary care, a good foundation in Neurology is critical.
During this clerkship you will be taught the elements of a good neurological history and physical examination. You will learn to interpret your findings and to develop a differential diagnosis based on those findings. You will learn the appropriate use of diagnostic testing to verify or clarify a diagnosis and you will learn the basics of neurological therapeutics. This will be accomplished by direct patient contact in clinics and hospital services, by informal teaching rounds, and by a series of didactic case-based conferences and computerized learning modules. Regular reading from the Neurology Pre-Test book and Case Files book is essential to support and reinforce the clinical experience and to get the most out of the clerkship. For most of you this will be your only clinical exposure to disorders of the nervous system, disorders that all of you will confront in your careers. So, now is the time! Enjoy the next few weeks and learn a lot.
The Neurology Clerkship Curriculum is made up of both an experiential learning component and a didactic component.
The experiential component includes working for up to ten half days in the outpatient Neurology clinic in a variety of subspecialties, a shift in the neurological ICU, and a 12 hour overnight shift with the night float resident, as well as a two week experience as a team member on one of the Neurology inpatient services. Students are encouraged to actively participate in patient care in all of these settings and are given responsibility and supervision commensurate with their level of training. It is the goal of the faculty that these experiences will give the students opportunity to develop competence in all of the skills outlined above.
The didactic component is made up of a series of assigned case readings, practice questions, and video cases, computer based self learning modules, small discussion groups, a case based noon lecture series, and a review session. These activities were carefully designed to reinforce and strengthen competence in all of the above listed competencies.
During your Neurology Clerkship, you will have an opportunity to learn the basics of Neurology via multiple avenues including case-based learning sessions, computerized modules, observed neurological exams, assigned readings and video cases, and clinical applications, both in the inpatient and outpatient services.