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Brain surgeon.

What does being a brain surgeon entail? Brain surgeons are highly skilled professionals who often perform life-saving operations. You will be working with the most delicate area of the body and performing "miracles" at least once or twice a week. You will be rewarded well - seeing someone walk again who was previously paralysed is a big reward for your hard work. There is also a bit of admin work involved and you will need to spend time talking with your patients to reassure them and explain exactly what you will be doing. Patients can be very traumatised by their health problem so you will need to advise them and speak to them with knowledge and authority. They may work privately, with the NHS or quite often both.

You will also need to be "on call" for a 24-hour period sometimes for emergencies.

What personal skills do you need? Being nimble-fingered is essential; one wrong move and you could paralyse someone for life. You should also know how to use tools such as neurological drills and blunt tip probes. Brain surgeons can spend hours in surgery, so you must be physically fit and have good mental stamina. Being a friendly and approachable person is also an advantage as you will often be dealing with a patient's family as well as the patient. You should also be a hard worker as you will be spending many years training for your qualifications.

What training do you need? You cannot just have anyone poking around in people's heads. You must undergo many years of training to become a brain surgeon. Training must be for a minimum of 14 years and can go on for up to 20 years.

Training includes four or five years at medical school. This is followed by at least six years working as a doctor in a hospital. Many trainee brain surgeons also do masters degrees and

Ph.D research so this can add several more years onto training time.

What opportunities are there? Once qualified, a brain surgeon should not find it too much trouble to find work. If you cannot find a job with the NHS then there is always the option of setting up your own private practice. Jobs tend to be advertised in the British Medical Journal.

What is the annual income? Brain surgeons are paid one of the highest salaries in the medical profession. On average it can be anything from pounds 70,000 upward and some brain surgeons have become millionaires through their profession..


MIRACLE WORKER: Brain surgeons transform people's lives, and some top experts have become millionaires as a result
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 5, 2009
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