As many of my friends, family, and patients know, I truly love Dermatology. In the office, you will find me talking with my patients about my career and the journey that took me to my specialty. It wasn’t a direct path, and because it was a more circuitous and serendipitous process, I learned a lot along the way. If you are a patient of mine, you may find yourself my captive audience, as I reminisce and share my career musings with you. My patients have borne witness to my reflections, often whether they like it or not. I will also talk about skincare and skin health ad nauseum if you let me, because the science and care of skin are passions of mine. And when you are sitting in one of my exam chairs, you may not have much of a choice. But within the confines of this blog, I haven’t yet really talked about the bare-bones, simple reasons why I love this specialty so very much. Let’s dive in to reveal the top ten reasons why I love Dermatology.
- There’s never a dull moment.
In any given workday of mine, I see many patients of all ages and with all different skin ailments. I may be examining a newborn one moment, performing skin cancer surgery on a senior citizen the next, and then injecting Botox in a fifty-something like myself a little later on. Not only does it keep me physically moving and mentally challenged, but it also makes for a very interesting, rewarding, and stimulating day.
- It is the perfect combination of medical and surgical skills.
I love that Dermatology combines my loves of Internal Medicine and Surgery in one. It nurtures my need to think and process, take deep dives into my skills in differential diagnoses, while allowing me to exercise my creative abilities while I perform surgery on the skin.
- It’s a specialty that is very, very techy, which makes the practice of it very, very fun.
I really enjoy technology. Don’t get me wrong. I could never be adequately conversant with a laser physicist about the nuances of fluence or collimation of waves, but I am fascinated with the new noninvasive devices that work amazing magic on the skin. And what’s fun about having one’s own practice is that after doing all my learning and research, I can choose the machines I want in the office and deliver state-of-the art treatment to my patients.
- It combines the myriad of disciplines that we study as medical students.
Dermatology is an amazing combination of disciplines in medicine, where a day doesn’t go by before I have to access my knowledge of the basic sciences we all learn as doctors in medical school. From immunology, microbiology, pathology, entomology (yes, the study of insects), internal medicine, surgery, rheumatology, and to pediatrics, just to name a few, Dermatology keeps it always challenging and interesting for me.
- I get the opportunity to care for patients of all ages, which is often like being a family practitioner without the family-practitioner demands and challenges.
This is self-explanatory. I love people. I love interacting with my patients, getting to know them and their family members. I love the babies. I love the teenagers. I love the seasoned adults. And I love the elderly, too. And over the many years I have been practicing Dermatology, I have built some amazing relationships with my patients. If it weren’t for this daily human connection and the continuity of care, I don’t think I could continue to be a doctor and practice medicine. What would I do instead? There are many other careers I would consider, but the top three would be a schoolteacher, a children’s book author, or a graphic designer, and probably in that order.
- I am able to maintain a tremendously fulfilling life balance.
Let’s face it. I have great hours for a doctor, although I do take a lot of work home with me every night. And I work weekends, blogging, catching up on my charts, developing treatment plans, and learning about new techniques and drugs. Which doctor doesn’t? But I do have a very predictable work schedule with very few emergencies. I have been able to work full time, and still be present for and accessible to my children. Although I cannot ever claim to equal the dedication of a stay-at-home mom, I feel that I was able to be the best mother I could be to my children, while working as a professional. This career flexibility and professional latitude are privileges of being a Dermatologist that I don’t and never will take lightly.
- I am able to have wonderful continuity of care for my patients while practicing a highly specialized field.
The words “continuity of care” don’t often apply to a highly specialized field as Dermatology, but it is an aspect of my specialty that I have always enjoyed and cherished. It goes back to that aspect of human connection and the building of relationships, which I love so much. The ability to have this personal connectivity with my patients, while practicing such a highly specialized field such as Dermatology, is a privilege beyond expectation.
- I really do make a difference, and I actually save lives.
If you have ever had a severe, unremitting rash, seeking my care and actually getting relief due to my treatment may be a true “halleluiah” moment for you as my patient. And if I find a skin cancer that you didn’t even know existed on your skin before your total body exam with me, I may have saved your life. It may not be treatment of a heart attack or curing breast cancer, but I am proud to say that I do make a difference.
- I am able to utilize my artistic eye and my creative skills every, single day.
Perhaps you have heard that I spent a good chunk of my undergraduate years pursuing the creative arts in college and almost became an architect. I still miss that part of me on some level. But believe it or not, I am able to exercise that artistic side on a daily level when I am treating my patients. Whether I am excising a skin cancer or injecting dermal filler or doing anything in between, I get to flex my creative muscles to produce a beautiful result in and on my patients’ skin.
- My patients are usually happy when they walk in and even happier when they walk out.
Dermatology is a relatively happy specialty. Sure, a patient can present with a torturous, itchy, red rash that has been plaguing him or her for months and be a little grouchy because of it, but generally speaking, my patients are a happy bunch. Even as they are scratching all the way into the office initially, patients often leave my office very, very happy when their skin feels better and looks better. Although I will occasionally see a very sick patient, the majority of my time is spent practicing a happy specialty. And in this day in age, happiness can be a rare commodity. I can honestly say that I am truly blessed to have a whole bunch of it in my office.
What can I say? I love Dermatology. As a doctor, I can’t imagine practicing any other specialty. And now you know the top ten reasons why.
Happy, Healthy Skin!
If you would like to read about the flip side, read Dr. Honet’s blog post, “Top 10 Things I Love to Do Besides Being a Dermatologist”.
If you would like to read about how Dr. Honet chose Dermatology, read her blog post, “Why I Do What I Do”.Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Dermatology