Medical Specialties for Healthcare Professionals
One of the many options you have as a healthcare professional is choosing a medical specialty in which to practice. Whether you’re a nurse, a physician, or allied health professional, choosing a medical specialty will help focus your educational goals, job search efforts, and career choices.
The sooner you identify your true passion in medicine, the more successful you may become, by working in a field you love. For example, is your passion working with kids, pregnant moms, cancer patients, or the elderly? Do you want to ease the pain of the dying, or bring new life into the world? Consider the various specialties.
Allergy and Immunology
The medical specialty of allergy and immunology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of allergies.
Anesthesiology is the medical specialty focusing on administering pain-killing drugs during surgery in the operating room. Anesthesiology also includes the field of pain management, a subspecialty which helps manage chronic (ongoing) pain in patients with prescription medication, injections, or other therapeutic methods.
The field of dermatology focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the skin.
Emergency medicine is the field which focuses on emergent, or acute medical care of patients who need immediate medical attention due to trauma, accident, or a major medical event.
Family medicine is a primary care field overseeing the basic healthcare needs of patients of all ages, from infant to geriatric.
Internal medicine is similar to family medicine in that it includes primary care and basic healthcare management of all areas of a patient’s health. However, internal medicine typically does not include pediatrics or obstetrics, whereas family medicine often does. Additionally, internal medicine includes more in-depth training and patient care in a hospital setting and acute care. Finally, internal medicine includes many more sub-specialties such as:
- Geriatric Medicine
- Oncology and Hematology
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- Infectious Disease
- Pulmonary Disease
Neurology is the medical specialty focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the brain and nervous system. Patients who have suffered a stroke, or who battle ailments such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s are a few examples of some of the patients who are treated by neurologists.
Neurosurgery is a surgical specialty of medicine devoted solely to surgery of the brain.
OB/GYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Obstetrics is healthcare for pregnant women, including labor and childbirth and providing a safe delivery of the baby. Gynecology entails the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the female reproductive system.
Ophthalmology is the medical specialty focusing on the treatment of the eyes, and retina. Not to be confused with an optometrist, ophthalmologists can also do eye surgery and prescribe medication unlike optometrists, who typically focus on eyesight correction and enhancement and prescription lenses.
Orthopaedic surgery entails surgery of the joints, bones, and muscles. Patients with sports injuries or injuries from an accident may be treated by orthopaedic surgeons, as are patients with some types of arthritis in the joints which may be surgically repaired.
Otolaryngology is the medical specialty commonly known as “E.N.T.”, which stands for ear, nose, and throat. Otolaryngology includes office-based care, and surgical procedures both in the hospital and in the office. Therefore, a variety of practice environments and employers are available in this field.
Pediatrics is a primary care field of medicine focusing on the healthcare of children, from newborn to age 18. Most pediatric jobs are office-based, where routine physicals, immunizations, coughs and colds, and “lumps and bumps” are handled frequently. However, there are also numerous pediatric jobs available at children’s hospitals, particularly in pediatric subspecialties such as pediatric surgery.
Psychiatry entails the treatment of patients’ mental health and well-being. Psychiatry may be practiced in an office, providing psychotherapy and medication for more common psychiatric care, or in a psychiatric hospital for more serious, acute psychiatric issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other issues requiring hospitalization. Psychiatry also involves the treatment of patients with addictions such as drugs or alcohol.
Radiology is the medical field which entails the use of medical imaging to diagnose a variety of problems across all specialties and body systems. Radiology is a very high-tech field offering a great deal of job growth, because it is utilized in conjunction with so many other medical specialties including cardiology, surgery, oncology, gastroenterology, to name a few.
General surgeons perform a variety of abdominal and laparoscopic surgeries. Surgeons may also subspecialize to focus on trauma surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery, or cardiac surgery. Surgical careers involve surgeon, surgical tech, or OR nurse.
Urology is the medical specialty involving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the urinary tract as well as the male reproductive system. Urology includes office-based care and surgical treatment.