June 22, 2015
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Because jobs in expedition medicine used to be few and far between till a few years ago, most medical students were hesitant about pursuing this specialty. However, with an increased focus on safety on more adventurous trips in recent years, there has been a huge surge in demand for doctors experienced in adventure or expedition medicine. This is a trend that is projected to continue for several years to come so if you are a medicine student and a serious adventurist, this is a specialty that is worth considering.
While a career in expedition medicine sounds very adventurous and exciting there are a few factors you must take into consideration.
Ask yourself these two questions first:
1. Can you cope physically and mentally with the challenges of the trip?
2. Can you fit well with an expedition team?
You should only consider this career path seriously if you have answered yes to both of the above questions.
Having the physical attributes and skills to cope with the expedition is essential. You cannot be the one struggling to keep up with the other members of the team. This means you will not only have to be in peak physical form but you also need to have the skills to complete the trip. This skill set would differ depending on the type of expedition and whether it involves snow trekking, mountain climbing, sailing or any other.
Fitting well into the team is just as crucial. You cannot afford to be a loner in this stream. In adventure travel, all members of the trip depend on each other to stay safe.
The third important criterion is that you must be capable of dealing with the specific medical issues that may arise, depending on the type of adventure. Marine expeditions may require a different medical skill set from those that involve mountain climbing or venturing into the Amazon jungle.
Last but not least, you must be confident in your skills and ability as a doctor as you will have to make critical decisions on your own and treat all kinds of emergencies without any support staff and using only the scant medical supplies that you have access to at the time.
Not surprisingly, you must be prepared to undergo rigorous physical, mental and medical training to become an expedition medicine practitioner.
Depending on the type of adventure, you would have to train in the hard skills involved so that you are physically and psychologically able to cope with the demands of the trip and ensure that you will not be a hindrance to the rest of the members.
To be medically prepared, you can choose to do a diploma in tropical medicine, mountain medicine, maritime medicine or one of several others, depending on the specialty you wish to choose.
The growing popularity of expedition means that jobs are in great demand and they pay well too. This is a fantastic specialty for anyone who is looking for a way to combine their love for medicine and adventure.