To become a dermatologist, an individual must first earn his or her medical degree before moving on to specialization in the dermatology field, which involves completing a residency in dermatology at a hospital. After completing the dermatology residency, the person must pass the American Board of Dermatology exam.
A general dermatologist observes any issues, concerns, or problems related to the skin, hair, or nails of the patient. It is then determined if any skin, blood, or tissue samples should be taken. Any samples taken are analyzed, and the dermatologist diagnoses the patient. Once a diagnosis is made, the dermatologist determines the best course of treatment to be used to treat the patient. The patient’s condition may be treated by medication, therapy, or surgery.
A dermatologist works in a hospital or private practice setting. Patient interaction is frequent. A dermatologist must be able to listen to the concerns of a patient and visually evaluate the areas of concern in order to make a diagnosis. Additionally, dermatologists interact with other members of the medical field such as primary care doctors, nurses, lab workers, and other to provide the best treatment plan and adequate care.
If a dermatologist specializes in any one of the specialty fields available, such as cosmetic dermatology, he or she would then perform additional tasks related to the specialty. For example, a cosmetic dermatologist may remove tattoos or scars.
Dermatologists must adhere to many laws and regulations related to the job and may be subjected to malpractice or other legal issues.
Dermatologists are at risk from contact with blood and other bodily fluids. They are on their feet frequently and may need to bend, stretch, or reach often. Attention to detail and good decision-making skills are needed, along with the ability to work unsupervised.
- Read current literature and understand interactions between drugs and conditions.
- Explain, perform and evaluate procedures and treatments.
- Consult with patients, make diagnoses and amend the electronic health record.
- Participate in department and organization meetings, policy development and projects.