What you must know about neuroscientists, by one who knows.

1. Neuroscientists are exactly as Gary Larson made them appear.

I have a colleague who is, honestly, one of the nicest guys it's ever been my pleasure to meet. He's also one of the nerdiest.

In a conversation with another nurse about how it's hard for him to get a date, he (the neurosurgeon) wondered why he couldn't get girls when he wore his Starfleet uniform tunic out dancing.

Here is what you need to know: That not only do I, a neuroscience nurse, know that it's a Starfleet uniform tunic and not "one of those shirts from Star Trek," I know that saying so to him would be the Neuroscientist Language Equivalent of saying, "Hi, Captain....wanna go where no man has gone before?"

2. Neuroscience adjuncts, such as neuroscience nurses, are even worse.

When I mentioned to Der Alter Jo that the fact that Dr. Dork had a Starfleet uniform tunic made him about three hundred percent more attractive, she fixed me with a "Well, derp de derp" look.

Here is what you need to know: To get on the good side of anybody in neuroscience, know the difference between a Tardis and a time machine.

3. Neuroscientists use language exactly. No exceptions.

"Interesting" means exactly that. If a neuroscientist calls your coffee cake, a dress, or a problem "interesting", that is exactly what it means. The person who is speaking is finding the baked good/clothing/problem worthy of further study.

Here is what you need to know: This is not necessarily a good thing. The most frightening thing I've ever heard a neurosurgeon say was, "I have no idea why that's happening." That really and truly meant that he had no idea why that thing was happening.

As it turned out, what was happening was the apparently natural disease process of a disorder that does not have a popular name as of yet, as it has only so far been described in five people. That person we were talking about was person number two or three.

4. Neuroscientists, whether surgeons or researchers or office physicians, are confused by excess verbiage.

This took me a long time to figure out. For a couple of years I was convinced that neurosurgeons in particular had no sense of humor at all. Then I learned that the briefer and more succinct you can be, the funnier they will find you.

In real terms, it means that neuroscientists are good with what Theresa Brown, RN calls "The Chatter": the brief, high-points report of what's going on with a patient.

Here is what you need to know: Know everything you need to know prior to turning to face any neurosurgery or neurology resident. If you don't know what you need to know, ask a nurse.

5. Neuroscientists are not socially ept.

Some of them are less inept than others, true. Some of them--like Dr. Dink, my shrink, who is a neurologist as well as a psychiatrist--have got being human almost down. Most of them, though, can only be described as doing pretty well for being recent immigrants to this planet.

Here is what you need to know: If a neuroscientist is trying to be nasty or snippy, you will know it. It'll be blatantly obvious. Otherwise, however they're behaving is just the way they are, and you shouldn't get your panties in a bunch about it. In very rare circumstances it's worthwhile to pull them aside and tell them not to be assholes, but think twice: most of the time it's not going to work.

And finally, remember: If you have to work with residents of any discipline, Rule Number One still applies: Feed them and all will be well.