'Neurophobia'--attitudes of medical students and doctors in Ireland to neurological teaching

Eur J Neurol. 2007 Oct;14(10):1109-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2007.01911.x.


(i) To determine whether neurology is the medical specialty with which Irish students and doctors have most difficulty, (ii) appraise attitudes towards how neurology is taught, and (iii) suggest ways teaching might be improved. A questionnaire on medical teaching was given to 457 medical students and junior doctors in Ireland. Perceived difficulties with neurology compared with seven other medical specialties were analysed. Other aspects of teaching were assessed including why neurology is perceived as difficult and ways teaching could be improved. Neurology was perceived as the most difficult of the eight medical specialties assessed. Participants felt they learned most at bedside tutorials with surprisingly few learning online. Neurology was perceived as difficult because of insufficient exposure to the subject, lack of teaching, and perceived complexity. Neurology teaching could be improved by increasing the number of bedside tutorials and by greater exposure to neurological patients for the students in clinical training. Medical students and doctors find neurology difficult. The teaching of neurology is reported as moderate to poor. The reasons for this are wide ranging but an emphasis on increased numbers of tutorials and greater integration of pre-clinical neurology to clinical years would improve teaching.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Neurology / education*
  • Neurology / methods
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods*