The division chief of vascular neurology at the University of Utah discussed the misperceptions surrounding the field of neurology, as well as the importance of increasing fellowship training.
“There is, unfortunately, still this misperception that neurologists don't have anything to do. There's this old adage—'you diagnose and adios'—nothing makes me madder than hearing that because it's just not true. You want to showcase what a fantastic field it is and what a difference we can make in people's lives, so that the younger generation sees it as a viable option for them [as a] field to go into.”
The nationwide shortage of neurologists persists as the field sees a concurrent growth in the patient population in need of care. Due to misperceptions, stigma, and salary concerns, the field of neurology has struggled to attract recent medical school graduates to pursue careers, when compared with more procedural-focused fields.
Jennifer Majersik, MD, MS, chief, division of vascular neurology, and professor of neurology, University of Utah, commented on these factors, which she and colleagues addressed in a report entitled, “A Shortage of Neurologists – We Must Act Now,” from the AAN 2019 Transforming Leaders Program. Majersik further commented on the importance of fellowships, as hospitals have need for residents with specialty training. This can be of particular importance in rural communities, she said, as neurologists in those areas can bring unique experience and training to their patient populations.