The Dermatologist – Saving Lives

Today, we shadowed a Dermatologist at Sanford Health (I guess it’s Sanford-MeritCare now).  Specifically Dr. Robin Weiner.  She was a very good physician with excellent personal skills and really enjoyed her job.  

At the end of our afternoon, she made a little plug for dermatology.  She told us that working as a dermatologist we’d be able to see the whole patient population from kids to elderly. Another plus is that patients are generally healthy and happy.  We’d also have a lot of control over our schedule and that the life-style of a dermatologist is very good.  She also said if we found skin pathology at all interesting, we should really consider dermatology.  

She went on to say that one day, she was seeing a friend of her’s who is an ER doctor.  At the time when she went to visit, he had a critical patient whom he was intubating.  They got to talking and she said that she would never be able to stand all the stresses and patients he routinely puts up with.  He told her that if he did dermatology all day, that he’d have to gouge his eyes out.  So, we need all types of different doctors, and that there is a specialty out there for everyone.  

So, if we liked having a fixed routine schedule of happy healthy patients of all ages then we should consider dermatology.  She personally, didn’t think she’d be able to handle the stress of the ER, never knowing what was coming in on that next stretcher.  

When she told us that, I came to the realization that I would never want to do a specialty like dermatology.  Nothing against dermatology, or dermatologists, but the specialty does not fit my personality.  I feel like, if my specialty as a physician did not include some patients who were critical enough to get flown to me by helicopter, then I didn’t end up in the right field.  Whether that be EM, surgery, or critical care, I think I am the kind of person who wants to take care of sick/dying patients.  This may sound cliche, but I feel like I’m becoming a doctor to save lives.