Explore internal medicine & its subspecialties – Part 3

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Students gear up for observation in the surgery department Adolescent medicine: job description & training

Internists who specialise in adolescent medicine focus on the physical, social, sexual and psychological development of adolescents and young adults. These specialists assess medical and behavioural problems within the framework of puberty and develop a personalised management plan that is appropriate with the patient’s developmental stage. Problems that adolescent medicine specialists most commonly treat include growth disorders, developmental disorders, learning disabilities, eating disorders, musculoskeletal problems (often sports related), vision and hearing disorders, contraception and pregnancy, psychosocial adjustment problems, allergies, acne, sexual identity concerns, substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.

To practice as an adolescent medicine specialist you will have to spend an additional one to three years studying conditions specific to adolescents after first completing seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training as well as becoming board certified in internal medicine or paediatrics.

 

Pulmonology: job description & training

Pulmonology focuses on treating diseases of the lungs and bronchial tubes, which often also involves assessment of the heart and the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, throat and pharynx. A pulmonologist undergoes special training to diagnose, prevent and treat a wide range of diseases and conditions of the chest, such as asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, tuberculosis and other complicated infections of the chest.

Not everyone who suffers from the above conditions would necessarily need a pulmonologist. A general internist can manage many of the conditions. However, a pulmonologist’s skills are needed to treat patients with severe or complex pulmonary problems, complicated chest infections and AIDS related pulmonary complications. While thoracic surgeons usually perform major surgical procedures, some specialised procedures that are done to obtain samples of the lung or of the chest wall lining are performed by pulmonologists.

To become a pulmonologist you will need to first complete seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training as well as becoming board certified in internal medicine, after which you will undergo another two to three years training in conditions specific to the respiratory system.

 

Haematology: job description & training

Haematologists are internists who specialise in diagnosing and treating disorders and diseases of the bone marrow, lymphatic systems and blood. Some of the conditions you would treat as a haematologist include anaemia, Hodgkin’s disease, abnormal bleeding or clotting, disorders of platelets or white blood cells, aplastic anaemia and other bone marrow abnormalities and blood malignancies such as lymphoma, leukaemia, multiple myeloma and related problems.

Haematologists are usually consulted in cases of suspected blood disorders where the diagnosis is unclear or specialised medical treatment is called for. They coordinate total patient care, working with radiation therapists, surgeons, gynaecologists or other specialists when necessary. Treatments associated with haematology include bone marrow aspiration, therapeutic phlebotomy, chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsy and other special therapy.

Specialising in haematology involves undergoing an additional two years of training in a broad range of haematological disorders after first completing seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training as well as obtaining board certification in internal medicine.

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