October 31, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
An infectious disease professional specialises in identifying and treating infectious diseases that are caused by microscopic life forms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. As the world keeps getting smaller and global travel becomes increasingly more common, the job of an infectious disease specialist has become so much more complex in recent years. This is because of the dissemination of unique and rarely seen infections that require highly specialised knowledge to diagnose and treat.
Specialising in infectious diseases is an interesting career path that pays well too and often involves travel to tropical countries around the world, from where most infectious diseases originate.
Bigger hospitals or specialised hospitals now use infectious disease specialists for advice on cases that show any kind of unusual disease. Some specialists are taken on full time with a hospital while some choose to work on a consultation basis. Infectious disease specialists have now become very popular and in demand due to a number of rare diseases that are increasingly been seen in a larger number of people and also because most people today have an increased resistance to many of the common infectious disease antibiotics.
On a typical day in the hospitals, these specialists may work with patients who are admitted on an emergency basis, patients who have got a virus from another country, immune-compromised patients and patients with severe infections.
As an infectious disease specialist, it is important that you should have a good virological and bacteriological knowledge in order to be able to identify the organism and to know how to destroy it. You should also be up to speed with the latest developments and diseases in the medical field in order to provide the best possible care to the patient. Because of the continuously changing environment in this specialty, specialists have to work hard all the time but they are also highly rewarded for their work.
Within the field of infectious disease, there are a number of sub-specialties. You can decide to specialise in anything from epidemiology to acute medicine. You can also get away from the regular boundaries of infectious disease and look at working in the field of public health, virology or medical microbiology.
This career path is ideal for people who want to learn more. Clinical researchers regularly come up with scientific breakthroughs that impact millions of people around the world and you will have to keep up with these findings in order to be able to treat your patients. This specialty will encourage you to think out of the box and help you find answers to all kinds of medically related questions. However, it is also important that you continuously stay up-to-date with all the latest information in the medical field. This can sometimes get a little tiring but it can be very rewarding as well.
A lot of people may be apprehensive about getting into this field because they aren’t sure if they want to spend their entire career working with infectious diseases. Fortunately, you do not always have to work directly with these diseases your whole life. There is a way to change specialties. If you ever get tired or bored of this job, you can move into research or teaching. Research on infectious disease is a huge part of the medical world and often it can be very highly paid. A number of pharmaceutical companies also hire qualified, experienced professionals for research in this field.