On today’s MD Minute, I am bringing you Part Two of my “Why Dermatology” story! Earlier this week, I shared Part One, and if you haven’t listened to that episode yet, I encourage you to check it out! I told the story of how my dad truly solidified my interest in pursuing medicine. I also talked about some of the struggles I had to overcome, including not matching into dermatology at first and learning how to network and find mentors and connections in order to be competitive in my field.
Today in Part Two, I’m changing things up a little! In this episode, I’m sharing the top five things I love about dermatology as a specialization. When I was in medical school and exploring my options for a specialization, I was interested in almost everything. The only two that didn’t really appeal to me were OB/GYN and ER — I needed to narrow my options!
I began thinking a lot about what I wanted my life as a doctor to be like, and eventually, I realized that dermatology checked all the most important boxes. There are so many reasons why I love dermatology, and today I’m sharing my favorites with you!
I hope that by sharing my favorite things about my specialization, I can inspire you to think about what you love about yours! If you’re also in a specialization — whether it’s dermatology or something else — I’d love to hear the top five or ten reasons why you love it! Make sure to tag me on Instagram, @drnikoleta, and share your favorite things about your specialization with me. But for now, let’s dive into the top five things I love about dermatology.
#1: I Get to Work with My Hands
One of my favorite things about dermatology is that I get to work with my hands a lot! I love being active on the job and working with my hands, and dermatology gives me plenty of opportunities to do that.
I didn’t initially realize how many hands-on procedures there are within dermatology, but it turns out that there are a ton of them. Every day, I do procedures like punch biopsies and shave biopsies to help diagnose or test suspicious skin cancers. Also, I often use my hands for injections for acne, keloids, and hair loss. And that’s not to mention actual skin excisions, surgeries, and cosmetic procedures like fillers, Botox, chemical peels, and even work with lasers. Additionally, as a dermatopathologist, I get to use my hands to manipulate slides and study things at a microscopic level. I’m almost always using my hands to do something!
I love the artistic aspect of dermatological pathology, as well as skin surgery and cosmetic treatments. I get to spend every day doing careful work with my hands, and that is part of what makes dermatology the perfect discipline for me.
#2: Dermatology Is a Great Mixture of Specialties
As I said before, when I was looking into the different specializations and deciding which path I wanted to take, I realized I had a wide variety of interests. OB/GYN and ER didn’t have much appeal for me personally, but I was interested in almost everything else! There were so many options, and nearly all of them had some elements that I found attractive or interesting.
Part of the reason why I ultimately chose dermatology is that it includes aspects of many different specializations. For example, I really do love internal medicine. I love learning about what goes on inside the body and how to treat various illnesses and problems that might come up. However, our bodies’ outer layer — our skin, which is our largest organ — is actually a window into a ton of underlying medical conditions. There are so many internal health problems that show up in our skin, so a good understanding of internal medicine is truly the key to being an excellent dermatologist.
This also applies to dermatological pathology! You have to have a solid understanding of internal diseases to be a good derm path physician, so dermatologists really do get to study a lot of internal medicine in addition to skin-specific conditions. I genuinely love this element of dermatology, and that’s another excellent reason why it’s perfect for me!
Can you relate to this? Do you feel like you have a wide range of interests? You may want to think about dermatology! You’ll get to study so many things you’re interested in while working on a specialization you love.
#3: It’s a Fast-Paced Job
If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, dermatology might be the right specialization for you. There are definitely pros and cons to working at a fast pace, but overall I very much enjoy it. I like that dermatology keeps me moving and always on my toes!
On average, dermatologists serve between 40 and 60 patients a day — that’s a pretty high volume. But that means your day is always fascinating and never boring! You could do as many different procedures as you have patients over the course of a day, and that means there is always something interesting going on.
Of course, working at such a fast pace does keep you on your toes. You have to be ready to think on your feet and move fast to keep up with the high volume of patients coming in and out of the office without losing steam. It can get pretty tiring at times! If that doesn’t appeal to you, dermatology might be more stressful than fun. But if you enjoy moving fast, meeting lots of people, and constantly working on something new and different, it just might be right for you!
#4: I Get to Be a Nerd!
The fourth thing I love about specializing in dermatology is that I really get to be a nerd and do a lot of studying and research. Dermatologists really have to know a ton of information. But personally I think it’s really fun to do the reading and researching to learn about every little facet of our skin.
Did you know that there are over 4,000 different skin, hair, nail, and mucus membrane conditions? It’s true. That’s why our big two-volume textbook weighs something like ten pounds, and there are many other books we’re required to read too! Dermatology is definitely a study-intensive specialty.
And the studying continues into your residency. If you specialize in dermatology, you’re going to spend a lot of time reading and studying after your clinics and on the weekends. There’s so much to learn and so much literature to cover; you have to keep working on it even after you’ve mastered the bread and butter of dermatology enough to be in residency.
Do you have a nerdy side like I do? Do you enjoy doing a lot of reading? Do you have fun learning the names and symptoms of thousands of conditions, including some that you would never see unless you went on a mission trip to some far-away country? Then dermatology might be the perfect discipline for you!
#5: Dermatologists Make a Difference
The final and most important thing I love about specializing in dermatology is that I get to make a difference in my patients’ lives every day. In fact, that’s just one of the things I love most about being a physician in general. It means so much to me that I get to serve my patients and help keep them healthy and happy.
But I really do enjoy helping people with their dermatological problems, too. Did you know that one person dies from a melanoma every hour? That’s a statistic that has really stuck with me. So many people suffer because of conditions that we can prevent and treat, so I love to counsel my patients and help them protect themselves and avoid that suffering. It’s such a rewarding part of the job, and it’s the most significant reason why I love my profession!
What Do You Love About Your Specialty?
Those are the top five things I love about being a dermatologist! There are so many more reasons to love this job and this specialty, but those are the biggest ones for me. I love that I’ve found a job where I get to work with my hands in a fast-paced environment, learn a lot about a wide variety of things that interest me, and genuinely serve and positively impact lives. Dermatology is the perfect specialization for me! Could it be right for you too?
If you have any other questions about dermatology, feel free to reach out to me! You can tag me on Instagram, @drnikoleta, or send me a DM! And if this post got you thinking about what you love the most about your specialization, I’d love it so much if you shared that with me too! Post a screenshot of the episode and tag me with your top five or ten favorite things about your specialization. You can also find more resources about dermatology on my website!
Also, as always, it would mean so much if you could leave the Millennial Doc podcast a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts — this helps us build a community and share this message with more people like you!
I love you all! Until next time, remember to Step Out with Confidence® and follow your passion!
Disclaimer: The Millennial Doc® Podcast is advertising/marketing material. It is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor on these topics. Copyright Dr. Nikoleta 2019.