Many people will automatically think that a neurosurgeon would be really well paid and it is the sort of job that would be really good to have. However, it is worth knowing a bit more about the job, the skills needed and the pay before you decide.
What the Job Involves
A neurosurgeon will diagnose and treat brain, spinal cord and nerve conditions. They will spend about half of their time operating on patients and the other half seeing patients. They may also teach medical students or give lectures. As a consultant they will work alongside other medical practitioners usually in the NHS but also in private hospitals.
Qualifications and Skills
You will need to start by doing a medical degree and then a two year foundation program with several additional years of core training. During this time it will be advisable to get experience working in a department in a hospital which specialises in neurology or A&E. You will obviously need an interest in the area but you will also need to be able to diagnose based on asking patients the right sorts of questions, administering the right tests and researching to find out answers you do not know. As you will be working with a team you will need good teamwork skills as well as good communication skills for when working with other medical staff as well as patients. You will need to be compassionate with patients and their families. You will also need good time management skills and be able to plan your learning, while you are training to make sure you gain the required knowledge while working and studying.
As with all jobs pay can vary by location. It will also vary depending on whether you work for the NHS or a private hospital. The NHS has a very solid pay structure in bands. A doctor that is training will have a basic salary based on a 40 hour week and will get extra pay for overtime and an enhancement for working nights as well as a weekend allowance for weekend work or being on call. The basic salary in the first foundation year is £26,614 which goes up to £30,805 in the second year. Once you start your specialist training you will get £36,461 rising to £46,208. Once training is completed you will become a specialty doctor and could earn up to £70,718. A consultant will earn £76,761 to £102,490 depending on how long they have been in the job. Many will take on private work to supplement their income but they will have NHS contracted hours that they will be expected to work. Taking on extra responsibilities within the job such as education or management can attract higher pay. So although the pay is significantly higher than the average UK salary, it does take a lot of work to get there. There will be a lot of study to start with where you will not be paid and then you will have to work and study simultaneously to go up the pay scale. Unsociable hours are also a part of the job so you will have to be prepared to work a selection of shifts.