For those interested in working in healthcare, but unsure exactly where they want to put their focus, an understanding of some of the more niche areas of healthcare may allow them to better understand what types of careers are available. Medical doctors are often asked to focus on a specific area of healthcare before they have experience in a wide range of options. Some specialties are well-known, and still in high demand, such as family practice specialists and obstetricians. Other types of specialists are less well-known and therefore may not have the number of applicants as more common specialties.
There are many benefits to working in a specialty that is less common and competitive. You are often given more responsibility earlier, due to the demands of the job. If the specialty is hard to fill, you may find your job offers include options for tuition repayment as part of your benefits package. Given that most prospective doctors will take out at least some private student loans to finance their degrees, the option of having your employer repay those loans is tempting.
Selecting a niche specialty allows you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Many people feel that they will enter the medical field and spend a great deal of time working one on one with patients. As they move through medical school, they often find that this is not how medicine is practiced today. While medicine can be impersonal, there are several niche specialties that allow you to work in a way that benefits your patient’s health while still working within the restraints of the current medical climate. One reason many people are drawn to medicine is so that they can help others, and working as an epidemiologist, psychiatrist, or geriatrician all allow you to focus on the bigger picture of patient care while still using your skills on an individual level. For individuals interested in the medical field but who are somewhat disillusioned with the current standard of care, these can be rewarding options.
Let’s dive in
Epidemiologists are medical doctors. Their work often focuses on large groups of people and communities rather than one on one patient care. They study disease, and how to diagnose, prevent, and reduce the spread of disease.
Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental conditions. While many people visit therapists or counselors for help with their mental health issues, psychiatrists, with their training as medical doctors, can provide relief that others may not be able to provide. Often individuals seeking help for anxiety or depression seek help by having their general practitioner prescribe medications and working with a therapist separately. While this can certainly work, a psychiatrist can both prescribe medication and has the training necessary to provide intensive counseling resources for clients.
A geriatrician is responsible for dealing with health problems and conditions in the elderly. As the average lifespan increases, and more of the population ages, these doctors are becoming more in demand. The geriatrician is responsible for coordinating treatment and must be comfortable and confident working with more than one provider to come up with the best treatment plan for the individual patient.