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A Step Toward the Right Direction: Choosing Your Medical Specialty

When you were a kid and you told your parents that you want to become a doctor, you did not know how hard the path to your dream is. On the off-chance that you did know, then your aspiration is something that the world needs.

11 years. That’s the minimum number of years it will take you to become a licensed doctor anywhere in the world, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The reason why becoming a physician takes that long is because medicine is a practice; it’s not something that you learn overnight and apply the very next day.

Once you become a doctor, you’ll be dealing with real people with real lives that can be gone with one mistake. So you should always do your best in front of your patients. You can take your studies one step further and choose to specialize in a certain field of medicine.

Internal Medicine

If you choose to specialize in internal medicine, then you’ll be working with people who suffer from diseases inside the human body. This can include diseases of the heart, blood, kidneys, and joints, or in the digestive, respiratory, and vascular systems of everyone beyond the scope of pediatric care.

Some subspecialties under internal medicine include cardiovascular diseases, hematology, infectious diseases, oncology, and many others. For instance, becoming a gastroenterologist means you will deal with issues that arise in the digestive tract, gallbladder, liver, bile ducts, and pancreas.

Internal medicine is a vast field in the medical world. Each subspecialty requires different skills and levels of knowledge that take time to gain. And because the physicians who specialize in internal medicine undergo primary care training, they can also tackle disease prevention, substance abuse, and mental health.

Emergency Medicine

If you choose to specialize in emergency medicine, then you’ll be working with people of all ages who find themselves caught in an emergency. This can be done within an emergency room (ER) or out in the field because it’s highly dependent on the circumstance.

Subspecialties under emergency medicine include critical care medicine, anesthesiology, medical toxicology, undersea and hyperbaric medicine, and emergency medical services, among others. Doctors who specialize in this field are often found in the emergency rooms of hospitals.

To excel in emergency medicine, you’ll have to be able to diagnose the needs of the situation immediately to make decisions that can save lives and prevent further injury or death. ER physicians can also direct first responders on the situation before the patients are brought into hospitals or medical centers.

Physical Medicine

If you choose to specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, then you’ll be working with people who suffer from disabilities of the brain, nerves, spinal cord, bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons. This can be in the form of strokes, brain injuries, or multiple sclerosis caused by accidents.

Under the specialty of physical medicine, you can find pain medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, pediatric rehabilitation medicine, sports medicine, brain, and spinal cord injury medicine, or neuromuscular medicine as subspecialties.

These are areas that you can study further to improve your patient’s quality of life after their accident. Since the effects of these events are life-altering and cannot be reversed by medical cures, rehabilitation plays an important role in this field of medicine.

Family Medicine

If you choose to specialize in family medicine, then you’ll be working with people of all ages regarding their overall well-being. Being a family doctor means that you aren’t focused on just one aspect of the body or a specific organ, but on the integrated care you can provide to your patients.

Subspecialties under the field of family medicine include adolescent medicine, geriatric medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, pain medicine, sleep medicine, and sports medicine. Since a physician specializing in family medicine treats patients as a whole, some branches of medicine can overlap with other fields.

Family doctors are trained to provide comprehensive health care to their patients, and therefore can treat most diseases that may arise in the human body. However, there may come a time when they request assistance from specialists in other fields to deal with an emergent medical case.

There are more medical fields that aren’t discussed here, such as dermatology, pediatrics, surgery, or psychiatry, which you can also consider in your search for a specialty. You can research other fields that might interest you if these fail to strike a note.

Choosing to study medicine is a long and winding road, but it’s one that is very fulfilling albeit also exhausting. You begin with a premed or bachelor’s degree, enter medical school, start residency and then fellowship. After all those years of hard work, you can now freely wear the white coat like a badge of honor.

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