The most valuable advice on medical specialty choice comes from those in practice. These are the best-read entries in our “Shadow Me” Specialty Series in 2017, along with a small flavor of the kind of insights to be gleaned from the full profiles.
What it’s like to specialize in addiction medicine: Shadowing Dr. Baxter. Louis E. Baxter, MD, believes patience with insurers and patients with substance-use disorders is needed to thrive in this specialty. “The most rewarding aspect of addiction medicine is that you can see patients progress from sickness to wellness in a relatively short period of time,” he said.
What it’s like to specialize in urology: Shadowing Dr. McNeil. Brian Keith McNeil, MD, cites affability, availability, ability and empathy as keys to succeeding as a urologist. “Urologists are typically affable, which is useful in breaking down barriers with patients to discuss sensitive, sometimes embarrassing topics,” he said.
What it's like to specialize in hospital medicine: Shadowing Dr. Gupta. According Kiran Gupta, MD, MPH, compassion and communication skills are keys to success in the relatively new filed of hospital medicine. “Our fragmented health care system, in which patients often receive care from different institutions with different medical record systems, makes care coordination quite difficult because the relevant information is not all in one place,” she said.
What it’s like in internal medicine: Shadowing Dr. Hingle. Susan Thompson Hingle, MD, enjoys her specialty because it offers the ability to form meaningful, long-term relationships with patients. I have had many of my patients in my practice for 15-20 years, so I get to form such long-lasting, meaningful relationships with them,” she said. “I truly get to know my patients as people, and I am forever grateful for that.”
What it’s like in critical care medicine: Shadowing Dr. Bosslet. Gabriel Bosslet, MD, has found that helping families with often heartbreaking decisions is an awesome responsibility. “An ICU physician sees a lot of people die—almost daily,” he said. “And that can get difficult. Because if you are doing it right, you are connecting with those patients and families and there is a little bit of grief that accompanies every death.”