Explore internal medicine & its subspecialties - Part 5

October 9, 2014

Sports Medicine: job description & training

Medical work experience student Ashleigh learning practical skills from her mentor in Thailand Internists who specialise in sports medicine focus on the assessment and non-surgical care of athletes, sports persons and other individuals who have been injured while engaged in any kind of physical activity. As a sports medicine specialist you would deal with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of all problems related to athletics and physical fitness, irrespective of whether the problem is a result of an injury or illness. You could be a health consultant for individual sports persons or for entire sports teams or you could care for people who are obese, diabetic or asthmatic and who wish to start an exercise program to lose weight, improve their fitness or reduce the inherent health risks.

Most sports medicine specialists work together with physicians and other medical and surgical specialists, as well as skilled health professionals such as nutritionists, physical therapists, athletic trainers and psychologists, to come up with a safe and effective program that is tailored to their patient.

Preparing for this subspecialty involves first completing seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training. After becoming board certified in internal medicine, you will then have to spend at least another year studying the basic sports medicine sciences and caring for athletes.


Nephrology: job description & training

Nephrology deals with the diagnoses and treatment of all types of kidney diseases. This includes diseases that could result in kidney failure such as polycystic kidney disease and diabetes mellitus as well as conditions such as hypertension that result from kidney disease. Primary care physicians, obstetricians and gynaecologists usually refer their patients to nephrologists when there is a diagnosis of severe high blood pressure, renal insufficiency, kidney stones and kidney failure or when there is protein or blood present in the urine.

The main goal of a nephrologist is preserving the remaining kidney function. These specialists usually work together with other physicians to offer their patients comprehensive health care or they manage other skilled professionals including psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, nurses and social workers. As a nephrologist, you will receive training in lifesaving haemodialysis, in which an artificial kidney is used to carry out the functions of a normal kidney. While you may not perform transplantation surgery, you will be responsible for diagnosing and determining whether your patient’s condition calls for dialysis or a kidney transplant. When a patient receives a transplant, you will be a part of the after-surgery care, managing medical interactions, blood pressure and other problems that may arise during that time.  

To practice as a nephrologist you will have to first complete seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training leading to board certification in internal medicine. You must then spend another two years studying a wide range of kidney disorders as well as their effect on other organs.