Outpatient Clinical Neurology: Pain

Elective Title: Outpatient Clinical Neurology: Pain 186.2
Department of Neurology
Boston University School of Medicine

Goal and Summary: This elective is for the BUSM student to gain experience evaluating, diagnosing and treating hospitalized patients with pain disorders. After completion of this elective, the student will gain an understanding of common pain syndromes and the general approach to those patients.

Description of Elective: The student will join the staff in the Pain Service. The student will work as a member of the team with staff attending neurologists. The student will spend his/her time performing supervised evaluation of patients with head, neck, back, and limb pain, as well as presenting these patients to the attending physicans. A thorough written summary of these cases will also be performed. The student will also attend various conferences focused on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with general neurologic disease. Emphasis is placed on developing skill in performance of the neurological examination, and acquiring familiarity with imaging, medication management, and pain interventional procedures. This will be obtained by evaluating patients with various pain syndromes, including neurologic causes of pain, such as radiculopathy and headache, and various musculoskeletal issues. Students are expected to participate in all service activites Monday through Friday. Patient care and teaching rounds take place daily for 8 hours. No weekend responsibilities or evening call is required.

Objectives: By the end of this elective, the BUSM student will be able to:

  • Gain an indepth understanding of the history, physical examination and laboratory results that are important in the evaluation of the patient with pain syndromes.
  • Demonstrate the ability to choose appropriate neurologic imaging and/or electrodiagnostic studies based on clinical presentation and laboratory data. Create differential diagnoses for the patient based on history and physical examination.

Curriculum: Educational activities include evaluating patients for which pain consultation is sought, teaching and bedside rounds with the attending physician, and review of relevant literature for discussion. Conferences/other teaching activities include: daily morning report, regularly scheduled conferences – Neuroscience Grand Rounds and core resident lectures. Students will also assist with the orientation of third year medical students taking the required Neurology clerkship, as well as assistance with Lumbar Puncture simulation.


  • The student will be evaluated based on their level of active participation in the activities of the Pain Service. Specifically, the student will be evaluated on his/ her individual patient work-ups – the oral presentation, the written consultation, the approach to review of relevant literature – and availability for participating in the work of the Pain Service. The attending physician, with feedback from the resident, will evaluate the student’s performance.
  • Grades (H/HP/P/F) will be used. The course director, Anna Hohler, MD, will be responsible for providing feedback mid-clerkship and upon completion, based on feedback from Pain attendings and fellow. If problems are identified, the attending physician or the student should contact the Course Director. Grades will be submitted to the Registrar in accord with BUSM policies for grading.


  • Pain Faculty at Boston Medical Center

Contact and Course Orientation Information:

  • Course Director: Shuhan Zhu, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • Location: Boston Medical Center, Shapiro 7th Floor, Neurology Suite
  • Contact: Joseph Russo
  • Email: jnrusso@bu.edu
  • Telephone: 617-638-5348
  • Fax: 617-638-5354
  • Students are to report to Shapiro 7th Floor at 7:30am on the first day of the rotation.

Number of Students: One fourth year student per block
Length of Elective: Four weeks
Available Blocks: Offered year-round