Neurophysiologists diagnose and monitor disorders which affect the brain and nervous system of patients, for example epilepsy, strokes, dementia, nerve and muscle damage, and multiple sclerosis. They use a variety of equipment and techniques to carry out investigations, which usually take place in a dedicated environment, but sometimes in other clinical settings, such as an operating theatre.
You could be:
measuring electrical activity in the brain by attaching electrodes to the patient’s scalp and monitoring results (known as electroencephalography – EEG)
testing the function of nerves in the body by attaching pads that produce small electrical pulses to the patient (known as nerve conduction studies – NCS)
assisting doctors specialising in clinical neurophysiology with measuring electrical activity in the muscles by inserting a fine needle into the patient’s muscles requiring investigation (known as electromyography – EMG)
conducting tests with patients by monitoring nerve pathway function in response to stimuli such as flashing lights or sounds (known as evoked potentials – EPs)
monitoring brain, nerve and muscle function while patients are asleep
using necessary tests to monitor the effects of drug treatments and medical procedures
recording and interpreting data from tests
working with other medical staff to determine diagnoses and treatment
performing regular checks on all machinery and equipment.
Clinical Neurophysiologists who work for the NHS are on Agenda for Change pay scales. The current pay scales are from April 2021. They generally start on Band 5, £26,104 to £32,915 a year.
Specialist neurophysiologists are paid on Band 6, £33,072 to £40,736 a year. Team managers are on Band 7, £40,872 to £47,846 a year.
Experienced neurophysiologists can earn over £40,000 in private healthcare establishments.
You work in the neurophysiology unit of a hospital, a ward or operating theatre.
Working hours are normally regular, but you may have to work some weekends and evenings, nights (for sleep clinics) or be on call for emergencies.
You might sometimes wear protective clothing, for instance when in an operating theatre.
There might be some lifting of heavy equipment.
You might travel between hospitals or clinics.
You would work with patients of all ages, including children.
You should look for a position as an NHS employed practitioner trainee in Clinical Physiology, where you would study for the BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Physiology (SCQF Level 10) at Glasgow Caledonian University. Look out for trainee positions on NHS Scotland Recruitment.
You should preferably already have a science related degree (SCQF Level 9-10) to enter the trainee programme. However, to get on the training pogramme, you need 3-4 Highers at BBC or BCCC.
Experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.
Both trainee and qualified posts are advertised in local press and the NHS jobs websites.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.