Doctor’s Day Special: Some Lesser Known Medical Specialties

July 1st is celebrated as National Doctor’s Day in India. This day honors doctors across the country for their relentless service throughout the year. Doctor’s Day is a tribute to all medical professionals who have ethically treated patients and served the society irrespective of all odds. This year we have all the more reason to do so.

Amidst the pandemic and the chaos, it is our healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to look after the patients and to prevent the disease from spreading, even jeopardizing their life in the process. They have been the front-line workers and have tried to act as a shield between humans and the virus. Not only this, they have also been working day and night to find a cure for the disease. So, on this day let’s take a minute and think about their contributions towards building a safer and healthier society. Let us thank them for their help and assistance all throughout specially during these tough times.

Why July 1st?

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy

Dr.Bidhan Chandra Roy was born on 1 July, 1882 and also died on the same date in 1962. National Doctor’s Day is observed to honor the legendary physician and West Bengal’s second Chief Minister, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy whose birth and death anniversary coincides on the same day. This day pay tribute to the whole medical profession and to highlight the value of doctors in our lives.

In 1991, the National Doctor’s Day was established by the Central Government to pay honour Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy and is celebrated on 1st July. On 4 February, 1961, he was honoured with the India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.

“We’ve come to learn that medical jobs can definitely be flexible, and that includes patient-facing roles like nursing and surgery. What’s wonderful about the healthcare industry is all the incredible opportunities that professionals have to put their skills to use in a variety of ways and situations. And these unusual roles all play a vital part in providing patients and other healthcare professionals with the expertise and support they need.”

Brie Reynolds, director of online content at FlexJobs.com

Now we are all aware of the broader medical fields like pediatrics, surgery, general medicine etc but there is so much more to medicine that we still don’t know.

Here is a look at some of the lesser known types of medical professionals, some of them are even rising up fast to match today’s needs.

Nocturnist

Night owls, take note: there’s a strong demand among health systems for nocturnists- a hospital-based physician who only works overnight. Most nocturnists are trained in internal medicine or family medicine and have experience in hospital medicine. However, there are nocturnists trained in other specialties, such as pediatrics. The main role of a nocturnist is to admit patients into the hospital from an emergency department, and to care for previously admitted inpatients through the night.

Health care systems want to hire nocturnists because they need to have a physician present on the floor at all times to care for patients and produce the best possible patient outcomes.

State of Hospital Medicine Report, 2016
  • An article in The Hospitalist, published by the Society of Hospital Medicine in 2017 estimates a 15 percent pay differential for nocturnists’ salaries.
  • They are also in high demand with almost as high as 70% of the hospitals having a nocturnist program.
  • Nocturnists also have to work for fewer hours, usually around 8-10 hours as opposed to 12 hours, and sometimes even fewer shifts.
  • Apart from emergency cases and mandatory rounds, there is plenty of time to practice medicine and procedures.

Lifestyle Medicine Physician

  • According to the World Health Organization, 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.
  • The U.S. spends at least 18% of its GDP ($3.35 trillion) on health expenditures. If costs continue to rise, by 2050 Medicare and Medicaid alone will account for 20% of the GDP. All projections point to continued rises in chronic disease. If this trend isn’t reversed, the country is headed for bankruptcy.
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Lifestyle medicine (LM) involves the use of evidence-based therapeutic approaches, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and avoidance of risky substance use, to prevent, treat, and, oftentimes, reverse the chronic disease that’s all too prevalent.

The 4 pillars of LM are-

  • Sleep and stress management
  • Nutrition
  • Relationships
  • Physical activity
Sleep and Stress Management

When we are chronically stressed, we produce more adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause clotting, increased heart rate, blood pressure and decreased heart rate variability. Stress also leads to poor sleep, which leads to irritability, memory issues, depression and accidents. Expressing gratitude and appreciation, enjoying nature, limiting social media and scheduling time for activities you enjoy can all help reduce stress.

Relationships

Along with reducing stress and improving sleep, maintaining a healthy social life also positively contributes to preventive health. For example, our pets are often some of our closest friends, but there are other benefits to being a pet owner.

Loneliness is a risk factor for premature mortality. Friendships (with humans or pets) can reduce stress, protect immunity, and decrease risk of developing dementia.

Nutrition

Choosing the right foods can also improve your mood. Nutrition psychiatrists cite the “gut-brain” connection as critical to managing anxiety and depression.

Physical Activity

LM endorses the CDC’s recommendations for physical activity, which include 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity and strength training two days every week. Increasing non-exercise activity time (N.E.A.T.), can help improve overall fitness.

Space Psychologist

To live in space can sound really cool, but astronauts and future space settlers often experience a series of stressors like conflict or isolation that might have an impact on how individuals think and feel while in space. This motivates psychologists to learn about human mental processes in space related activities, and understand how living in space, as an example, influences astronauts’ mood and well-being and their capacity to perform.

Space Psychologists can be involved in a variety of tasks that are space related-

  • conducting psychological examination on space personnel
  • development and implementation of training programs aimed at improving astronauts’ teamwork competences like leadership, communication and conflict management that are fundamental to ensure mission success
  • work as researchers and try to understand if living in space has any influence in our mental processes
  • work on the development of new monitoring techniques that will be necessary for long space traveling and ongoing observation of crew’s psychological functioning

Most psychologists are experts in one research domain such as organizational psychology, or social psychology. Psychologists working in space related activities often have a PhD in Psychology, and are multidisciplinary in the sense that they are knowledgeable in other scientific areas informing about human nature such as history, biology, or neuroscience. 

Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Bariatric surgery is an operation that helps you lose weight by making changes to your digestive system.

Studies show that many people who have bariatric surgery lose about 15 to 30 percent of their starting weight on average, depending on the type of surgery they have.

Bariatric procedures can be grouped in three main categories-

  • Blocking– Some procedures block absorption of food, although they also reduce stomach size.
  • Restricting– Procedures that are restrictive shrink the size of the stomach or take up space inside the stomach, making people feel fuller when they eat less.
  • Mixed– Mixed procedures apply block and restrict at the same time.
Types of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgeons evaluate patients that have been unsuccessful achieving long term weight loss by non-surgical means and determine whether or not they would be appropriate candidates for weight loss surgery. If they deem them appropriate candidates, they help prepare them properly for surgery, minimizing as many potential risks as possible, and then perform the operation. They also assist them with their postoperative care following the surgery.

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Medical Virtualist

The telehealth market is expected to rise 30% each year between 2017 and 2022 as telemedicine gains traction as a way to deliver second-opinion consults and offer telepsychiatry and tele-stroke services. More health systems also are adding telemedicine to their raft of services, using their own physicians or those employed by telehealth companies to provide primary care triage, specialty consults, and virtual rounding. 

Virtual care is evolving rapidly, as telehealth becomes more integrated into care delivery and with the widespread adoption of video-enabled smartphones and fast broadband services. With primary care and specialty physicians already doing virtual visits, is there a need for a virtualist specialty? Proponents say yes, mainly because of even greater streams of patient data that would need to be integrated and interpreted in care decisions in a virtual-care environment.

Medical Virtualist is a term that could be used to describe physicians who will spend the majority or all of their time caring for patients using a virtual medium. A professional consensus will be needed on a set of core competencies to be further developed over time.

The success of technology-based services is not determined by hardware and software alone but by ease of use, perceived value, and workflow optimization. Medical virtualists will need specific core competencies and curricula that are beginning to develop at some institutions. In addition to the medical training for a specific discipline, the curriculum for certification should include knowledge of legal and clinical limitations of virtual care, competencies in virtual examination using the patient or families, “virtual visit presence training,” inclusion of on-site clinical measurements, as well as continuing education.

Virtual providers conceivably could become subspecialists in areas where virtual visits already have flourished, including neurology and psychiatry. A shift to value-based care, where providers are paid based on outcomes and not per care encounter, already is accelerating the adoption of virtual care. While there are many aspects to consider, including accreditation, oversight and working across state lines, the virtualist movement is a trend to watch.

“As more health care institutions start to incorporate virtual care into their strategic planning, we need to make sure we are prepared to train future providers. Physicians will need to demonstrate competency in conducting the virtual interaction — including body language, eye contact, and the environment from which the visit is conducted — and gain expertise in the legal ramifications and regulatory issues of virtual medicine. The clinical acumen you get from face-to-face experience with patients is incredibly important.”

Rahul Sharma, MD, emergency physician-in-chief for New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center

In our search for uncommon medical jobs, we came across plenty of others that were a little off-beat such as sexologist, dance therapist, mastectomy fitter, aromatherapist, patient escort, medical waste biohazard cooker, or stand-in patient.

One thing you may find even weirder than some of these jobs is the fact that many of them offer a lot of flexibility. In fact, medical and health-related jobs are typically the number one job category for flexible work.

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