• Swara Kulkarni

Medical School Specialties: Dermatology, Anesthesiology, and Obstetrics & Gynecology

The field of medicine consists of a plethora of career paths to choose from, and it can often get overwhelming with the number of directions one can go. Students often end up developing an interest in some subfield by the time they graduate from undergrad, but a lot of people do not know where to begin when trying to learn about the hundreds

of careers in the area of medicine. This article will be breaking down the fields of

dermatology, anesthesiology, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Dermatology involves the management of skin conditions, and is one of the most diverse specialties in medicine. This field is widely applicable, making it a competitive specialty. Within dermatology itself, there are many career paths, and most dermatologists eventually develop an interest in one of the subspecialties. The most common ones include dermatopathology, which focuses on the cause and effect of skin diseases, pediatric dermatology, which focuses on the dermatological needs of children, teledermatology, which focuses on the use of various media to aid other medical professionals in identification and diagnosis of nail, hair, and skin conditions, Mohs surgery, which focuses on the removal of skin cancers, and cosmetic dermatology, which focuses on aesthetic procedures meant to improve the patient’s appearance. Most dermatology students begin with taking science-related courses in undergrad or go on the pre-med track. In medical school, students often focus on anatomy, pharmacology, and biochemistry before training for 4 years to become a dermatology specialist. Those who wish to pursue an MD or PhD would extend their education by 2-3 years, and certain dermatology subspecialties also require residencies or specialized fellowships. In order to practice dermatology, one would require a license from the state they want to practice in, and they could also choose to become board certified by passing the ABOD exam in order to be more credible and earn more money. The average salary of a dermatologist in the U.S. is $230,000.

Anesthesiology is the practice of evaluating, monitoring, and supervising a patient throughout a surgery mainly by administering anesthesia. One needs to complete undergrad, med school, and residency, and also needs a DO or MD in order to become an anesthesiologist. In medical school, students who wish to pursue anesthesiology usually take two years of preclinical classes on anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, physiology, and neuroscience, followed by two years of clinical experience in hospitals. During residency, students choose a specialty such as pediatric anesthesiology, neuro anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, etc. Anesthesiologists need to pay extreme attention to their patient’s awareness, reaction to pain, and muscle tone in order to ensure the surgery goes smoothly. Anesthesiologists are also trained in pharmacology and physiology, and need to be able to resuscitate a patient if systems in the patient’s body fail. 75% of anesthesiology students take the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) exam in order to become board certified. These doctors also have very regular schedules and typically receive several weeks of paid vacation when they do not have to worry about being called to work on their days off. The average salary of an anesthesiologist in the U.S. is around $390,000.

Obstetrics and gynecology, often referred to as OB-GYN, is the field of prenatal care and childbirth. This field includes a mix of medicine, primary care, and surgery. By the time of graduation, an OB-GYN would have completed 12 years of education, with 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, and 4 years of residency. For students interested in gynecology in medical school, suggested clerkships include sub-internships in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or critical care, and subspecialty electives in gynecology such as gynecology, gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology, family planning, or female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Residency includes intense training in many of these same subjects, as well as how to have difficult conversations and perform in high-stress environments. OB-GYNs have plenty of opportunities to advance in their career, but their job is high-stress and doesn’t offer as much flexibility as other fields. The average salary of an OB-GYN in the U.S. is $280,000.