Specialising in Neuroscience

Specialist in Clinical Neuroscience

A specialist is a doctor who is certified to practice independently in a specific area of medicine or surgery e.g. in Neurology, Paediatric Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropathology.
They have completed their postgraduate training and do not require supervision by a more senior doctor. In Ireland specialists must be registered on the Specialist Division of the Register with the Medical Council. The Medical Council has statutory responsibility for setting the standard required to achieve specialist certification, and for accrediting postgraduate medical training bodies and training programmes. Specialists in Ireland are generally referred to as ‘consultants’.

Specialist Training

Postgraduate Specialist Training is delivered by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, (RCPI) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
This training takes place in structured rotations on hospital sites across Ireland, and is supported by a network of local trainers, Programme Directors and National Specialty Directors. Postgraduate training happens in the workplace, but in addition there are comprehensive educational programme provided by the RCPI and RCSI to ensure that essential nonclinical skills, such as leadership, management, ethics and communication skills, are covered along with clinical skills and procedures.

All postgraduate specialist training bodies in Ireland work closely with the Medical Education and Training Unit in the  Health Service Executive (HSE) to ensure that specialist training is delivered to a high standard on hospital sites. The tripartite working relationship between the postgraduate specialist training bodies, the Medical Education and Training Unit in the HSE, and the Medical Council ensures that the integrity and the quality of training programmes are upheld.

Pathway to becoming a Specialist in Clinical Neuroscience

1. Medical Degree - The first step in the specialist career pathway is a five to six-year undergraduate medical degree programme.

2. Internship - After graduating from medical school, a newly graduated doctor spends 12 months training in hospitals as an Intern, working as part of a team with nurses and experienced doctors, The intern year is structured so that a doctor can experience a variety of medical and surgical specialties. In Ireland the Medical Council oversees the intern year.

Towards the end of the intern year, a doctor must choose an area of medicine to continue training in. It can take about 15 years to become a specialist. Participants rotate through pre-arranged posts in their chosen medical specialty every twelve or six months. There are opportunities for developing a subspecialty interest, or arranging out of programme experience in research or clinical appointments overseas.
Training posts in neuroscience are usually advertised in November of each year. Shortlisting for posts is carried out in January and interviews take place in February or March.
The number of posts vary each year depending on the number of Specialist Registrars who have exited the programme following completion of training

                                         Medical and Surgical Specialist Training Programmes in Clinical Neuroscience

                          Medical Specialist Training
(Neurology, Paediatric Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology, Neuropathology, Neuroradiology)
                                 Surgical Specialist Training
                                        (Neurosurgery)
The next stage of training is Basic Specialist Training (BST)and the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland is the accredited Postgraduate Training body for Specialist Training. There are 10 BST programmes in Ireland. In clinical neuroscience, Neurology is a subspecialty of the General Internal Medicine specialty which is directed by the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training Postgraduate Medical Training Body   The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), is the accredited Postgraduate Training body for Surgical Training programmes, including Neurosurgery. Training is divided into two stages, Core Surgical Training (ST1 -ST2), and Specialty Training (ST3 -ST8). Trainees complete a comprehensive training programme, which prepares surgeons for independent practice in a particular specialty enabling them to enter the Specialist Register. The RCSI is the advisory body for all matters in relation to Core and Specialist Training and makes recommendations for the awarding of the Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). 
The National Surgical Training programme is an eight year training programme intended for medical graduates who have completed their internship and wish to pursue a career in Surgery.
Basic Specialist Training (BST)
BST is two or three years in duration. During this time a doctor works as a Senior House Officer (SHO) or Registrar, mostly in hospitals and always under the supervision of a more experienced doctor.
  Core Surgical Training (CST) 

Core Surgical Training is composed of two years and these are termed ST1 and ST2. Core Training is a common trunk of training which is undertaken by all surgical trainees, irrespective of their future specialty aspiration. It  introduces trainees to the principles of surgery in general and give them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which are required by all surgical specialities in preparation for Specialty Training
Throughout the two years trainees are assessed via the Competency Assessment and Performance Appraisal (CAPA) process.
Progression to specialist training after year two is based on competitive ranking, performance and suitability metrics.

Higher Specialist Training (HST) Higher Specialist Training (HST) is the final stage of training and doctors work as a Specialist Registrar (SpR). It is designed to bring a doctor’s skills up to the standard required for independent specialist practice and takes four to six years to complete. The duration of training might be extended due to research or overseas clinical appointments. On satisfactory completion of HST, SpRs receive a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training (CSCST) which allows them to enter the Specialist Division of the Register with the Medical Council.
In addition to supervised clinical training, HST consists of complementary courses that help Trainees to develop the management and analytical skills needed to provide excellent patient care.
Recruitment to HST occurs every year and entry is competitive. Contracts of employment are issued by hospitals and all posts approved for HST in Ireland are full time and salaried

Applicants to enter the Training programme in Neurology must have completed general training and have Part One and Two of the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

  Specialty Training

ST3 is entry level into (Higher) Specialty Training which completes at ST8. This is based on on-going progression assessment (CAPA), successful completion of the MRCS exam and specialty interview (ST3-ST8).

The General Surgery training programme has a defined curriculum that trainees need to complete. Biannual assessments, training courses, wet labs and modalities such as the Intercollegiate Surgical Training Programme (www.iscp.ac.uk) are used to track progression throughout ST3 - ST8. Trainees need to complete the curriculum and the FRCS examination in order to achieve a Certificate of Completion of Surgical Training (CCST). Without the fellowship exam (FRCS) a trainee cannot receive their Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) which forms a part of the eligibility criteria for registration with the Irish Medical Council. 

Once a doctor is on the Specialist Division of the Register with the Medical Council they are eligible to apply for consultant posts. However it is not always easy to get into these highly-regarded positions. Many doctors spend some time working abroad and building up their portfolio of research, audits and publications before becoming a consultant

Neuroscience Undergraduate Degrees

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