Medical Students and Residents


  • Each day starts at 7:45 am — Please arrive on-time
  • Please make sure you demonstrate proper time management and professionalism
  • Whether you are taking this rotation as an ELECTIVE or as part of your CORE — be prepared to be challenged.  This is not a “fluff” rotation.
  • Students will be working directly with Dr. Athni – no upper-level, intern, or resident.
  • This rotation is not physically challenging, but rather cognitively challenging.
  • Get a good nights rest – and be prepared to demonstrate your intellect.

NOCG Education Center

  • Prior to the rotation, please log into which is our online educational portal
  • NOTE:  You will need to use your school email account to register — this portal ONLY allows .edu email accounts to register
  • To gain full access to the resources, you will be provided with an “enrollment key” by Dr. Athni when you make initial contact with him.
  • Once “registered” and “enrolled”, you will be able to access a handful of textbooks and various study material.
  • You will find a “Pre-Clinic Quiz”, which should be taken without studying.
  • Starting the rotation without completing the pre-test is NOT the signs of a successful student!  A very BAD look!

Clinic Hours

  • Your day starts at 7:45 am
  • Tuesday and Wednesday are our “late days” – be prepared to stay till around 5:30 pm to 6 pm
  • All other days, you should be able to leave office around 4:00 to 4:30 pm
  • Consider bringing lunch – we have a kitchen with microwave and fridge.
  • Many eateries are within driving distance (Arby’s, Burger King, Fresh Market, Kroger’s, Starbucks, etc)


  • Business casual attire or clean scrubs, with your white coat and name tag
  • NO visible tattoos – ALL tattoos MUST be covered with clothing (else you will be asked to leave the clinic)
  • NO exposed body piercings (this includes NO tongue rings, NO facial piercings, NO gauges, etc)

Other Information

  • Park at LEFT side of building, in covered parking area
  • Please ONLY use the SIDE DOOR to come in-out of the office
  • If you have Orientation, you can use our conference room (remember to ask Dr. Athni for office Wi-Fi password).
  • You can also use our conference room to attend your weekly “Academic Day” and “Grand Rounds” meetings.
  • After completion of the webinar / meeting, you are expected to return to clinic.
  • Wear comfortable shoes


  • Bring your laptop, tablet, iPad, or cell phone with internet browsing capability (we have wifi in the office)
  • Please keep cell phone on “vibrate” mode
  • DO NOT use your device to play games or “shop” or socialize with your friends while in clinic
  • DO NOT use your cell phone or tablet in front of patients – this would be very rude, and disrespectful to the patient

Neuro Tools

  • The only tool you would need would be a neuro hammer, but do not buy one.
  • Most students & residents purchase the wrong type of hammer. I will show you which one to purchase.

Rotation Expectations

  • This is an out-patient rotation, with no call and no weekend responsibilities.
  • This is not a physically-challenging rotation (no sleep deprivation, no excessive walking, no after hours, etc).
  • If you have a lecture commitment, just let me know, and you can break away for the lecture and return when you are done.
  • We have a conference room where you can watch your lectures and grand rounds.
  • I will assign reading and “homework” during the rotation – you are an adult, so I expect you to keep up with these assignments.
  • Your typical workweek in the clinic will be around 30-35 hours.
  • Since this is not a very time-demanding or physically demanding rotation, I EXPECT you to read and learn Neurology when not in clinic.
  • There should be absolutely no excuses for not reading neuro related material during the rotation.
  • You will be working with Dr. Athni, directly – so please leave any “laziness” at home.
  • REMEMBER:  You will get out of this rotation what you put into it.
  • This might be your only exposure to Neuro, so take advantage of the rotation.
  • The more you learn, the more you demonstrate an interest to learn, the more you ask, the more I will teach.

How to Assess Progress

  • You will be required to take a “Neurology Pre-Clinic Quiz” PRIOR to the first day of the rotation (available on the NOCG Education portal).
  • Try taking this test without studying to assess your baseline neuro knowledge.
  • I do NOT expect you to “ace” this test.  Rather, it will assess your level of Neurology knowledge at the beginning of the rotation.
  • You will be required to take another “Quiz” at the end of the rotation.
  • Part of your “clinic” grade and assessment will be based on how you have progressed during your Neurology rotation.
  • These quizzes are NOT meant to be stressful.  Rather, they are meant to demonstrate your academic growth and help build your confidence in clinical Neurology.

Teaching and Learning Process

  • Many students and residents are “afraid” of Neuroscience and Neurology.
  • One of the best ways to learn Neurology is to understand the pathology and pathophysiology, instead of memorizing random facts.
  • To accomplish this, I use the Socratic method of teaching – so, be prepared to be challenged academically.
  • You will quickly realize, and hopefully appreciate, the importance of critical analysis and reasoning (remember CARS on the MCAT?).
  • Come with an open mind, and you will quickly find that Neurology is a lot of fun.
  • Don’t stress over this rotation.
  • Bring your “A” game, and you will learn more than enough to earn an “A” on your shelf exam, while also becoming well prepared for the Neurology component of the Step 1 and Step 2 exams.

Things to Study – BEFORE Rotation Starts

  • Since you only have 3 to 4 weeks on the neurology rotation, I have found that most students / residents lose a lot of time trying to “re-learn” the fundamentals of neurology (information that should have been learned during basic sciences).
  • Review basic neuro-anatomy (cortical lobes, detailed anatomy of brainstem and spinal cord, etc).
  • Review the sensory and motor pathways.
  • We will review this information during the rotation.  But, without this basic knowledge, your experience in neurology will be limited and constrained.
  • SIDE NOTE:  Chapters 5 (Weakness) and chapter 6 (Sensory system) of Blueprints has a nice overview of the above information.  Pay special attention to how to properly “localize the lesion.”

Educational Videos – Watch BEFORE Rotation Starts

  • All students and residents rotating through our office are expected to watch the “How To Localize The Lesion” video series (i.e. NeuroAxis) BEFORE starting the rotation.
  • No excuses.  Without a clear understanding of the information provided in this video-series, you will find your first few days of neurology to be very painful!
  • Also listen to the “FDA” podcast
  • The Videos and Podcasts are located on the web site



Topics to study DURING the rotation

  • There are a handful of topics which are very common in Neurology – very frequently appearing on your various exams (Shelf, Step, Specialty Boards)
  • I encourage you to study and try to understand the clinical relevance of these topics, not just memorize the core information
  • We will be discussing these topics at random times during the month.

Difficult Topics – Learn Big Concepts

  • Synucleinopathies
  • Epilepsy classification and treatment (including status)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Concussion vs. TBI vs. Closed Head Injury vs. Post-concussive Syndrome
  • How to analyze CSF results
  • Stroke Management – acute vs. long term .. surgical vs. non-surgical … etc
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Classification of peripheral neuropathy
  • “AIDP” vs. “CIDP”

Not So Difficult – Quickies – Easy To Learn

  • Different types of hydrocephalus
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Scheduling of medications
  • Types of headaches
  • Chronic pain vs. acute pain
  • Aphasia vs. Dementia vs. Delirium
  • Intracranial bleeds (5 types !!)
  • Side effects of common medications

Try To Learn, Else Just Memorize

  • Visual field defects
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Metabolic Syndromes

Office Hours

Mon: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Tues: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Wed: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Thurs: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Fri: 8:30 am to 12 Noon
Weekends & Holidays – Closed

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