Paediatric neurology - sub-specialty

A paediatric neurologist is a doctor with (or trainee doctor working towards acquiring) expertise in diagnosing and managing the vast range of neurological disorders affecting children and young people. Find out more about this sub-specialty and its curriculum.

What makes a paediatric neurologist?

A paediatric neurologist needs to have expertise in a wide range of disorders from fetal life to adulthood (16-18 years) including:

  • epilepsy and paroxysmal disorders
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • brain and spinal injury
  • infections of the brain and spinal cord
  • brain and spinal tumours
  • neurogenetic disorders
  • movement disorders
  • white matter disorders
  • inborn errors of metabolism.

In addition, paediatric neurologists have generic expertise in neuroimaging, molecular medicine and neurosurgical disorders. Some will sub-specialise and work largely or exclusively in a particular field.

Paediatric neurologists are usually based in a regional neuroscience centre providing secondary and tertiary-level services, working in outpatient and hospital settings. In the acute setting, they manage a wide spectrum of disorders and provide shared care management of patients on the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the neonatal ICU (NICU) and of patients undergoing neurosurgery.

They provide specialist support to paediatric specialty colleagues, advising on the diagnosis and ongoing management of chronic and complex disease. Paediatric neurologists work particularly closely with neurodisability paediatricians, neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, neuroradiologists and neurogeneticists.

RCPCH Progress curriculum

Sub-specialty trainees use the RCPCH Progress Level 3 Generic syllabus alongside the RCPCH Progress Paediatric Neurology Syllabus, both of which are available to download below.

Sub-specialty learning outcomes

In addition to the generic learning outcomes for level three, paediatric neurology trainees must fulfil the requirements below:

  • Recognises, assesses and manages the full range of paediatric neurological conditions, including acute neurological disorders with common and uncommon presentations, anticipating possible pitfalls and complications, while recognising and managing high-risk situations
  • Coordinates urgent and complex clinical management, including the provision of non-acute clinic services and ward-based neurogenetic, neuroradiological or neurophysiological multidisciplinary meetings; completes appropriate onward referrals and discharges; and communicates clearly with colleagues.
  • Promotes the neurological and developmental health of a child with a neurological disorder
  • Assumes the role of paediatric neurological team leader and takes responsibility for this area of service
  • Practises safe child neurology, including when prescribing medication, and initiates and completes a quality improvement project applicable to child neurology
  • Keeps up-to-date and engages in, supports and stimulates research in child neurology

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