A neurosurgeon deals with various surgical operations to do with the nervous system, which encompasses the spinal cord, brain, skull and peripheral nerves. They will play a part in both the operative and non-operative treatment of patients, ensuring that excellent patient care is offered.

The operative techniques used by neurosurgeons are varied, including methods such as spinal fixation devices and minimally invasive surgery. A neurosurgeon would expect to perform surgery about four or five times a week. They will spend the rest of their working hours carrying out non-operative care, offering teaching tips to trainee neurosurgeons and dealing with patient paperwork. This is a specialist area of surgical medicine in which you need to be of utmost professionalism.

Work activities

The typical work activities conducted by a neurosurgeon include:

  • Coming to a diagnosis through the use of tests such as physical examinations, x-rays and MRI scans.
  • A neurosurgeon would need to deal with conditions such as brain tumours, spinal injuries and damage to the skull.
  • A neurosurgeon would need to ensure patients understand the treatment process and are at ease with it.
  • Collate and analyse patient records, as well as updating them.
  • Perform operations under stressful conditions in which quick life changing decisions would need to be made.
  • Working with outpatients to diagnose and treat their conditions.
  • Perform surgical operations around four times a week.
  • Will be on call for any medical emergencies.
  • Study needs to be done throughout a neurosurgeon’s career in order to keep up-to-date with any new developments in the treatments of patients.
  • Make sure hygiene levels are maintained.
  • Work as part of a medical team.
  • Carry out research into the area of neurosurgery and write papers on it.
  • Nimbleness and practical skills will need to be maintained.

Essential skills

  • Excellent level of rapport with patients to ensure they are cared for and at ease.
  • Ability to teach upcoming neurosurgeons but also continue to learn yourself.
  • A real desire to improve the lives of patients.
  • Able to work as part of a team and as an individual.
  • Truthful about your skills and drawbacks.
  • Organised manner and able to upheld a great level of professionalism.
  • A strong personality in order to lead a team during stressful times.
  • A great level of interest in the profession of medicine.
  • An aptitude for the sciences.