While many day-to-day ailments can be cured with rest and fluids or a trip to the primary care doctor, when more serious illness rears its head a physician with specialized training and experience may be called for. All physicians share essential tasks, such as examining patients; taking medical histories; using tests to help make a diagnosis; and prescribing medications. They may counsel patients on healthy habits and how to keep well. Some physicians specialize in diagnosing and treating ailments in a particular organ or area of the body, a type of illness, or a mode of treatment, for example, Allergists and immunologists treat allergic diseases and those that affect the immune system. Dermatologists help patients with skin conditions. Neurologists specialize in diseases and disorders of the nervous system. Pathologists study the causes and nature of diseases. Radiologists use X-rays and radioactive materials to identify disease. Doctors of sports medicine help athletes prevent injuries, and treat those that occur during sporting events and training. Physicians and surgeons often have long, demanding workweeks. Unlike in primary care, the patients cared for by these specialists have already been referred because of their symptoms so they are often more ill, with more serious conditions. Physicians and surgeons have extensive education and training. After a bachelor’s degree, physicians earn a medical degree, which typically takes 4 years to complete, and then 3 to 7 years of internship and residency programs, depending on the specialty.
What they do:
Diagnose, manage, and treat disorders and diseases of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, with a primarily nonsurgical focus.
On the job, you would:
Interview patients to obtain information, such as complaints, symptoms, medical histories, and family histories.
Examine patients to obtain information about functional status of areas, such as vision, physical strength, coordination, reflexes, sensations, language skills, cognitive abilities, and mental status.
Perform or interpret the outcomes of procedures or diagnostic tests, such as lumbar punctures, electroencephalography, electromyography, and nerve conduction velocity tests.
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
Education and Training
teaching and course design
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
see hidden patterns
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
eClinicalWorks EHR software
Nuesoft Technologies NueMD
post-doctoral training or doctoral degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.