A Day in the Life of a Dermatologist

A dermatologist spends much of her day diagnosing patients' skin problems.
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A dermatologist may look like she has a pretty enjoyable job, but in reality each day is a blur of activity with few breaks until the workday is over. A dermatologist's day doesn't just consist of seeing clients and making diagnoses. She must also try to find a little time for herself: time when she can research and improve her knowledge of new treatments and clinical studies. Being a dermatologist is a demanding job, but helping others solve long-term skin problems can be rewarding.

Calls and Follow-Ups

    The beginning and end of a dermatologist's day frequently consist of making patient calls and follow-ups. Dermatologists often have a long list of refill requests. May of these can be handled by nurses, but some types of medications require a dermatologist's precise attention before any refill. Dermatologists also spend time following up on lab reports and personally calling patients who need advice after a previous visit.

Patient Visits

    The bulk of a dermatologist's day consists of seeing patients. These usually involve acne and rosacea treatments, skin biopsies to rule out cancer, cosmetology treatments and laser treatments. Prescribed treatments usually involve not only the skin problem itself, but the age of the patient and the likelihood that a patient will follow a skin regimen that is prescribed. Sometimes patients also come with an unusual skin problem that the dermatologist has to diagnosis based on the patient's history and lab results.

Lunch Breaks

    Dermatologists have busy workdays and often don't have time for a lengthy lunch break in a typical day. Dr. Stephen Steiner, a dermatologist in Georgia, told the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants that his lunch break usually consists of a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While eating, he usually returns more patient phone calls and goes over more lab results.

Conferences and Research

    Although most of a dermatologist's day is spent visiting with patients and reviewing lab results, dermatologists also take out some time to read the latest research results and even attend a conference or seminar on a particular type of skin problem. For example, Steiner said that he has to keep up with advances in psoriasis treatment because new research is making treatment options for patients much more effective.

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