A hematologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of blood diseases. This type of professional must be self-motivated and possess strong research and analytical skills. A person who wants to work in this field must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program in a science subject, then four years of medical school. After that, he or she will need to complete two to six years of residency training in this field. In addition to treating blood issues and completing continuing education courses, this type of professional must be able to consult with patients and diagnose problems.
Meeting with new patients in a consultation setting is an important task for a hematology specialist. During an initial examination, this type of physician will inquire about the patient’s symptoms. He or she also looks at notes from the internal medicine or family medicine doctor who referred a patient to him or her for specialized treatment.
A person in this line of work also has the important responsibility of making diagnoses. A hematology specialist instructs employees to draw blood, which is then analyzed to determine a patient’s health status. Sickle cell anemia, for example, is a disease in which the body produces hard, crescent-shaped red blood cells that block the flow of blood, resulting in infections and pain. Anemia, or a lack of red blood cells, is another illness that a professional in this field can diagnose. Anemia can cause fatigue or lead to more serious problems like heart damage.
A hematologist must also be able to make treatment decisions for blood disorders. In some cases, surgery, for example, may be required. When working in this field, he or she may be responsible for blood transfusions, chemotherapy for cancer patients, and even bone marrow transplants.
In this line of work, it’s critical to keep one’s license up to date. To obtain a medical license, he or she must first pass an exam, which is required in most areas. As a specialist, the professional must also pass testing to earn board certification in his or her specific field of medicine. When a person becomes a hematology specialist, they must maintain their credentials attending seminars at industry conferences and taking college courses for continuing education credit.