A Doctor, also known as a Physician or Medical Doctor, diagnoses and treats the health problems of individuals. Medicine is a very broad field with many specialisations.
SPECIALTIES AND DUTIES
GENERAL PRACTITIONER: Diagnose and treat individuals and families within a community.
- Treats patients over an extended period of time; keeps medical records of patients.
- Gives advice on healthcare and prevention of diseases.
- Conducts minor surgeries.
- Carries out or refers for special testing e.g. x-rays.
- Refers to specialist health services e.g. skin care specialist (Dermatologist)
- Administers and prescribes antibiotics and other medication.
- Fills out medical forms/certificates allowing patients to claim for benefits.
- Administers immunization.
- Emergency Medicine (Treats persons requiring immediate care)
- Sports Medicine (Treats injuries related to sporting activities)
- Pediatrics (Child Medicine)
- Geriatrics (Elderly Medicine)
- Forensic Medicine (Interprets/establishes medical facts for legal purposes)
- Internal Medicine (Prevents, treats and diagnoses adult diseases).
- Telemedicine (Uses technology for medical consultation and patient care)
- Podiatric/Chiropody Medicine (Treats and cares for the foot and ankle)
ANAESTHESIOLOGY: Administering sedation and/or anesthesia to a patient for the purpose of blocking pain: local and general anesthesia.
- Assesses patient’s pain management requirements before and after surgery.
- Assesses patient’s medical status and determining its effect on the anesthesia or vice versa.
- Decides on the type and intensity of drugs to be administered.
- Monitors patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia.
CARDIOLOGY: Diagnoses and treats diseases of the cardiovascular system (heart, veins and arteries).
- Gives advice on preventative methods.
- Closely monitors patients with a history of heart disease.
- Conducts various tests to determine health status of the cardiovascular system.
DERMATOLOGY: Diagnoses and treats diseases of the skin, scalp, hair and nails.
- Performs cosmetic procedures e.g. administering Botox, face lifts, chemical scrubs and other related treatments.
- Gives advice on proper care for the skin, scalp, hair and nails.
GASTROENTEROLOGY: Cares for conditions of the Digestive System including the stomach, throat, intestines and colon.
- Gives advice on proper practices.
GENERAL SURGERY: Specializes in surgery of the abdominal regions. HAEMATOLOGY: Studies blood and blood forming organs.
- Diagnoses, treats and prevents blood diseases.
IMMUNOLOGY: Studies the Immune System in order to treat and control any diseases or deficiencies. NEPHROLOGY: Diagnoses and treats diseases of the Kidneys and related organs. NEUROSURGERY/NEUROLOGY: Treats diseases of the Nervous System; Brain, Spinal Cord, Peripheral and Sympathetic Nervous System.
- Also concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitations of the disorders that affect the Nervous System.
NUCLEAR MEDICINE: Uses small amounts of nuclear elements to diagnose or treat diseases such as cancer.
- Uses non-invasive imaging procedures to diagnose conditions.
OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY: Gives medical treatment for problems of the female reproductive system.
- Cares for women during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium (period shortly after birth).
- Performs surgery when necessary.
- Gives advice on family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
ONCOLOGY: Diagnoses, treats and cares for persons with cancer.
- Determines appropriate treatment.
- Gives advice on coping and care.
- Radiation Oncology (Cares for patients using radiation treatment)
- Medical Oncology (Uses Chemotherapy, Hormonal therapy and Biological therapy)
- Surgical Oncology (Uses a Surgical treatment for cancers)
- Paediatric Oncology (Treats children and adolescents with cancer)
- Gynaecological Oncology (Treats and manages persons with gynaecological cancers)
ORTHOPEDICS: Diagnoses and treats abnormalities and diseases of the Musculoskeletal System.
- Uses surgical and non-surgical means to treat injuries or diseases.
OTOLARYNGOLOGY (E.N.T: EARS, NOSE, THROAT): Treats allergies, sinus infections, voice disorders and cancers of the head and neck. PATHOLOGY: Studies human diseases and conditions.
- Studies the effects of those diseases on the body, as well as, the effect of treatment on the disease.
PSYCHIATRY: Diagnoses and treats persons with mental and behavioural illnesses through medication prescription or psychotherapy. PULMONOLOGY: Diagnoses and treats diseases and disorders of the Respiratory System. RADIOLOGY: Uses imaging technologies to diagnose and treat diseases within the body through visualization. UROLOGY: Diagnoses and treats anomalies and diseases of the urinary tract in men and women.
- Diagnoses and treats conditions of the male reproductive system.
VENEREOLOGY: Diagnoses and treats sexually transmitted diseases including the study of HIV/AIDS.
- Gives advice on safe practices and care.
- Entry requirements include courses such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, English, Psychology, Social Sciences, Computer and Statistics.
- Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
- Postgraduate training is required for Specialty areas.
PROFILE The following personal qualities are essential to becoming a successful Doctor:
- Communication and People Skills: excellent communication skills are required to explain procedures to the patient, as well as, give advice clearly and accurately interpret any questions they may have. Awareness and understanding of other cultures and their attitudes towards medical treatment.
- Empathy and Patience: showing empathy allows patients to trust the doctor and therefore makes the procedure less stressful for the both parties involved, similarly, patience to deal with and calm anxious patients is beneficial.
- Manual Precision: steady hands are important when performing minute actions and they must be dexterous and have muscular endurance for long procedures. A soft touch is also beneficial in reducing pain and allowing the patient to relax during examination.
- Cleanliness: good hygiene is important in avoiding further infections to the patient and the practitioner.
- Data-analysis Skills: these skills are important when reading and interpreting medical laboratory tests in determining and understanding the problem.
- Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills: should be able to assess the problem the patient is experiencing and determine the best possible treatment to be taken.
- Ability to work well under pressure: the ability to work quickly and efficiently without becoming overwhelmed is important, especially in emergency situations.