Neurophysiology is concerned with the investigation of function in the central and peripheral nervous system.
Healthcare science staff working in neurophysiology are specialist practitioners who investigate the function of the nervous system to diagnose and monitor neurological disorders, including epilepsy, strokes, dementia, nerve and muscle dysfunction and multiple sclerosis.
You will work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes doctors specialising in neurophysiology, specialist nurses and other healthcare science staff (e.g. those specialising in audiology or ophthalmic and vision sciences).
If you work in this area of healthcare science, you will carry out investigations in dedicated environments/departments, in intensive care settings and in operating theatres.
You will work directly with inpatients and outpatients of all ages (babies, children and adults) and will therefore need effective communication and team working skills.
Healthcare science staff often work at the forefront of research and innovation, so that patients are continually receiving the very best healthcare. For example, in neurophysiology, healthcare science staff are undertaking research to investigate ways to overcome spinal cord paralysis.
A mature, calm, confident but sympathetic approach is required to achieve the best outcome for each patient - many patients may be anxious about the procedures and will need reassurance from you.
You will also need to be confident with technology and systems/processes.
If you work in a role with responsibility for resources (such as staff, budgets or equipment) you must have good leadership skills and be able to use your initiative within the remit of your job role.
There are two entry points into this area of work.
It can be advantageous to have gained some experience of working in a relevant environment before applying for a place on a course or job vacancy. You should always check with the course provider/employer to see what sort of experience is preferred or required.
The education and training you will take, will depend upon the level at which you are working.
Programmes are often supported by the development of work-based assessment tools, assessment of equivalent learning and the development of academic careers.
No matter what level you are working at, as part of your development you will be expected to do 'Continuing Professional Development' (CPD) to show that you are keeping yourself up to date with the policies and procedures in your area of work.
Many healthcare science roles require registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). For those parts of the workforce not regulated by the HCPC, professional voluntary registers are in operation.
For registration as a clinical scientist, individuals must hold an Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) Certificate of Attainment granted upon completion of the MSC Scientist Training Programme or AHCS Certificate of Equivalence.
You can find out more about the Academy's Certificates on its website: www.ahcs.ac.uk
Please check individual job vacancy details for information when applying.
For information about pay for staff working in healthcare science, please click here.
For further information about a career in neurophysiologyplease contact:
The Association of Neurophysiological Scientists
Richard Pottinger (Careers Adviser)
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology
St Bartholomew's Hospital
38 Little Britain
Website: www.ansuk.org/ or contact your local Neurophysiology Department