NHS Careers > Explore by career > Healthcare science > Careers in healthcare science > Careers in physiological sciences > Neurophysiology

Neurophysiology

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.

Investigations include:

  • EEG (electroencephalography) - a recording of the electrical activity of the brain from the intact scalp
  • Evoked potentials - these are potentials produced by the brain in response to specific stimuli, for example a flashing light or sounds, such as a click
  • EMG (electromyography) and NCS (nerve conduction studies) - these assess function of the nerves and muscles within the body.

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.

Skills required

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.

More information on the skills required to work in healthcare science.

Entry points and requirements

There are two entry points into this area of work.

  • As a healthcare science practitioner through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) by taking an accredited BSc degree in Healthcare Science (Neurophysiology). You will typically need at least 2 if not three A2/A’ levels including science subjects and a good spread of GCSEs at A-C grade. Alternative/equivalent qualifications may be accepted by some universities, but you are advised to check with each university (or visit their website) before making an application.
  • As a healthcare scientist, after a relevant degree (at a minimum of a 2:1 classification or a 2:2 with appropriate postgraduate qualifications), by applying for a place on the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

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.

Training and education programmes

The education and training you will take, will depend upon the level at which you are working.

  • To enter via the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) you will need to take a full-time (usually 3-year) accredited integrated BSc degree in Healthcare Science(Neurophysiology) at university. At least 50 weeks of work-based training in the NHS is included in these programmes.For the most up to date list of accredited BSc Healthcare Science degrees, please use our coursefinder or visit the NHS Networks website. Applications for full-time courses are made through UCAS.
  • Graduates entering the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) will be employed in  a fixed-term, salaried training post and will study towards a masters degree qualification in Clinical Science (Neurosensory Sciences).

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.

Registration

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.

Pay

For information about pay for staff working in healthcare science, please click here.

Further information

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
1st Floor
38 Little Britain
London
EC1A 7BE

Email: richard.pottinger@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Website: www.ansuk.org/ or contact your local Neurophysiology Department