Should You Consider A Specialty In Preventative Medicine?

Medical care is about more than just treating acute symptoms. While the traditional family doctor is probably the first health care specialist that many people picture, the reality of medical care is drastically more complex. In addition to the wide range of doctors, nurses, and technicians found in any hospital, there are an incredible array of medical professionals who work out of sight and behind the scenes. Preventative medicine specialists are one of these behind-the-scenes players, and they are key to the health of whole communities.

What do Preventative Medicine Specialists Do?

Preventative care is a complex, research-oriented field. The primary role of the preventative specialist is to provide proactive care over a population. Depending on the particular setting that they work, in a population may be anything from the patients of a hospital to a small town to an entire country. The WHO and other international health organizations maintain their own staff of preventative care specialists research and provide recommendations for regional or even global populations.

In a hospital setting, preventative specialists focus primarily on working with patients to provide proactive care based on patient history or other risk factors. These doctors may be patient-focused, but they often work with large amounts of data behind the scenes. By both working with patients and examining overall trends in data, they can help hospitals to provide better proactive care and ultimately help those served by the hospital to be healthier.

In larger settings, preventative care specialists often work with policymakers or aid organizations. Although this may seem like a drastically different role from clinical specialists, the fundamentals are similar. Instead of spending time with individual patients, these specialists instead help to shape public policy and use research and data to improve the long-term health of large populations. This type of work may be done in a more general capacity or it may be focused on specific public health concerns, such as diabetes or obesity.

Is it the Right Career Path for You?

Becoming a preventative medicine specialist is a big decision. If you are completing your degree and considering your options for specialties, then preventative medicine is worth a look if you are a research or policy-oriented individual. Since most specialists in preventative medicine do not see as many patients as other doctors, it is an excellent career field if you would prefer to work in an administrative role. You will also have the ability to impact the health outcomes of large communities, which can be an exciting opportunity not available to many other specialties.

For more information, talk with professionals such as Dr. Cathy MD.