Welcome to neurology! The neurology clerkship is a four-week required clinical rotation. We hope that you will find the neurology clerkship to be exciting, well organized and most importantly, educational. Clinical neurology is by no means esoteric in any way, and the core knowledge taught in this clerkship is important in the every day practice of most physicians, regardless of specialty. Neurological emergencies like seizures, strokes, coma and spinal cord compression are common and you will certainly encounter them in your career. On the other end of the spectrum, routine neurological problems like headache, back pain, cognitive difficulties and weakness are very common and all physicians should have a basic understanding of the workup and treatment of these conditions.
If we can impart any advice, it is not to get behind. The course is only four weeks in length and there is a great deal of information to synthesize. Start reading on day one, and you will be in good shape. Our educational philosophy is not to teach or learn by rote memorization, but by integration of newly acquired facts into a preexisting framework of knowledge. Getting the "big picture" is much more important than the ability to memorize a random list of facts which will be quickly forgotten. The method of neurology is organized and involves stepping back and summarizing the case then answering some basic questions before generating long lists of differential diagnoses.
We recognize that most students do not select neurology as their eventual career. However, for those who are even only slightly considering the specialty, we encourage you to take this opportunity to speak to as many residents and faculty as you can to find out more about this wonderful career. Make connections early in your career. Find a faculty mentor, or ask us to help you find one who shares clinical or research interests. This clerkship provides an opportunity to work with faculty members who may be able to write letters of recommendation for residency applications or involve you in a new or ongoing research project. Don't stand in the background and expect these things to fall in your lap. The best advice is to be proactive and express your interest in the field.