Pros and cons of choosing dermatology
This article is for you if you’re in the throes of med school. You’re probably in survival mode, subsisting on caffeine and adrenaline – but you are probably also giving some thought, when you can, to what comes next. Where do you want your professional career to take you? Perhaps – dermatology?
Of course, as a specialty, the years of schooling – and associated cost – are something to consider thoroughly before taking on dermatology as your chosen path. Many agree that dermatology is a specialty that requires some of the highest performances, academically, to enter.
But the eventual salaries can make up for that, with averages among the highest in any specialty, and growing. It’s possible that future compensation could fall, as managed care continues to evolve and affect the practice of medicine. But, for now, dermatologists ranked among the highest on job satisfaction overall.
Job growth is projected to be very promising, as it’s a small community. While dermatology saw a rise in burnout rates over the last few years, the rate is comparatively very low, according to a recent study. There can be lower feelings of stress, possibly because the profession is so well compensated and because most cases are not time-critical (unlike, for instance, those of an emergency medicine specialist).
However, some say that dermatology can have little respect in the overall physician community. This may be because some see dermatology as one of the “lighter” specialties, with a focus on wrinkles and other lifestyle, rather than foundational, health concerns.
However, this definitely isn’t an accurate view of the profession. Conditions like psoriasis can be profoundly debilitating – affecting not only a person’s appearance, but their entire being – and effective treatment can change lives. As well, cancer is a reality for an unfortunate number of people, and skin cancer is a rapidly growing diagnosis that dermatologists must deliver to their patients. It’s clear that dermatology is not necessarily a “light” profession.
In the end? If you love learning about the complex issues associated with the skin, if you enjoy helping people regain a strong self-esteem associated with their appearance, and if you find the colleagues and the patient interaction congenial – dermatology may be for you. If not, all the job openings in the world won’t make a job the right fit. But if dermatology piques your interest, and fits your temperament, welcome!
1 Available at: http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(15)00716-8/abstract. Accessed October 17, 2016.
Shanafelt TD, Boone S, Tan L, et al. Burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance among US physicians relative to the general US population. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(18):1377-85.
Various. What are the disadvantages of being a dermatologist? Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-disadvantages-of-being-a-dermatologist. Accessed October 17, 2016.
Becoming a Dermatologist: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description. Available at: http://learningpath.org/articles/Dermatologist_Career_Overview.html. Accessed October 17, 2016.
Choosing a medical specialty. Available at: http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=4181962 . Accessed October 17, 2016.
What are some cons of practicing dermatology?
Available at: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/what-are-some-cons-of-practicing-dermatology.1031198/. Accessed October 17, 2016.
Codington. C. Opinion on Positive and Negative Aspects of Dermatology. Available at: http://clarecoddington.weebly.com/pros--cons.html. Accessed October 17, 2016.
Pros and cons of being a dermatologist. Available at: http://careers.alot.com/career-paths/pros-and-cons-of-being-a-dermatologist--8818. Accessed October 17, 2016.