Hematology is a branch of medicine that focuses on diseases and disorders of the blood, lymphatic system, and blood vessel walls. The job of a hematologist is to diagnose, manage and treat problems related to blood, such as anemia or hemophilia. Many hematologists also choose to specialize further and stick to a single sub-specialty. Some of these include:
- pediatric hematology
- Cardiac hematology
Duties and responsibilities of a hematologist
Hematologists are medical professionals responsible for treating various blood ailments in a patient. Working as a hematologist, one is expected to carry out several duties and responsibilities. Some of these include:
- Listening closely to patient complaints
- Conduct various tests and come up with a diagnosis
- Going through the physician’s notes who referred the patient to a hematologist as well as adding your own observations to it.
- Perform bone marrow aspirations to find out what’s wrong as well as detect any blood disorders
- Document and analyze a patient’s medical history
- Conduct physical examinations of the patient
- Study a patient’s lab tests, MRIs, and CAT scans.
- Analyze the blood work of a patient as well as look for any abnormalities in the red or white blood cells.
- Perform surgeries (if and when required)
- Treat blood-related diseases such as anemia, hemophilia, or leukemia
- Look for any clotting in the blood and then treat blood clotting or other related disorders
- Administer chemotherapy for the treatment of lymphoma or leukemia.
- Communicate these plans with the patients as well as their families. This may include answering any queries or concerns.
- Prescribe as well as administer relevant medications
- Recommend dietary advice (if needed)
- Order supportive care for patients (if required)
- Work alongside patient’s GP, nurses, as well as other relevant medical staff.
- Attend training, webinars as well as seminars to stay updated with the latest trends and developments.
- Participate in various hematology research activities
Educational requirements for the job of a hematologist
To become a hematologist, one must undergo extensive learning and training. The educational requirements for the job of a hematologist include:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. During this time, aspiring hematologists must take human anatomy, microbiology, biology, and physiology coursework.
- After completing a bachelor’s degree, you must sit for your MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) to gain acceptance in medical college.
- Get a medical degree! While completing your medical degree, you must again focus on human anatomy, clinical applications, medical practices, and medical ethics.
- Complete a two to six years long residency program in internal medicine, after which you gain certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine
- Attend a fellowship program. This is usually a three-year program. Moreover, upon completing the program, you can obtain a license for a hematologist job.
Sub-specialties within hematology include:
- Haemostasis and thrombosis
- Hematological malignancy;
- Pediatric hematology;
- Red cell and hemoglobinopathy disorders;
- Transfusion medicine
- Cardiac hematology
Skills required for the job.
While education plays a vital role in the job of a hematologist, one must still possess certain skills to be a successful hematologist. Some of these skills include:
- Great communication skills to communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally with patients, medical staff, and colleagues
- Patience: to be able to listen attentively to patient concerns as well as to answer all their concerns and queries.
- The ability to handle stressful situations and work under pressure
- Excellent organizational skills
- Keen observational skills
- Empathy and compassion, especially towards patients suffering from terminal disorders
- Strong leadership and problem-solving skills.
- The knack to be comfortable around blood
- Manual dexterity
- The willingness to learn new skills and techniques as well as apply this knowledge to patient care
What about salary?
Working as a hematologist in the US, one can expect an average annual pay of $333,022 with approximately $160 per hour. These figures may vary slightly depending upon your education, sub-specialty, experience, and well as your geographical location. Moreover, the average annual salary for the job of a hematologist ranges from $221,230 to $443,137 annually.