Once you’ve decided to practice medicine, the decision of what area to specialize in can be a very difficult, and very personal, process.
In any specialty, there are, of course, a wide variety of pros and cons. Many factors can enter into the decision process, including money, lifestyle, and, perhaps most importantly, what you most enjoy doing. What one doctor might choose as the ideal way to spend his or her professional life might seem to another doctor like a prison sentence.
Once you’ve made your choice, however, an even more difficult dilemma can be the decision to switch from one specialty to another. It’s easy to look at your choice of specialty as a make-or-break decision that can never be altered, but it’s not uncommon for physicians to choose to change their path throughout their careers. And taking that fork in the road can often be a decision that reinvigorates an otherwise lost or stagnating love of the medical profession.
One specialty shift that seems to be gaining popularity of late is a move from anesthesiology into the practice of aesthetic medicine.
Here are 3 reasons why many anesthesiologists are considering switching to aesthetic medicine.
1. Better Hours
As an anesthesiologist, your hours are not yours to choose. You may work around the clock in hospitals, and when you’re not on duty, you may be on call for emergency surgeries, labor and delivery, and to administer anesthesia or pain medication to patients in intensive care. This kind of shift requires evening and weekend availability, and can be quite a burden, especially for doctors with families at home.
Aesthetic medicine, on the other hand, is generally practiced in a medical spa, clinic, outpatient surgery facility, or private office. In aesthetic medicine, patients come in during your clinic’s specific open hours, and since procedures are elective, the scheduling is more predictable. Regular office hours also make it much easier to be there for your child’s big game or school play.
2. Lower Stress
As an anesthesiologist, you’re often handling patients who are going through incredibly difficult experiences. From people with chronic pain or illness, to victims of accidents or heart attacks, to a wide range of other life and death scenarios, patients who need your services are very often worried, scared, or in great pain.
While some may thrive under such circumstances, the stress of literally holding the lives of others in your hands can become too much to handle after years of a daily adrenaline rush.In aesthetic medicine, patients don’t come to you for life-threatening reasons.
Aesthetic medicine offers the opportunity to spend more time and build a relationship with a smaller base of patients, while playing a vital role in helping those patients to feel better about themselves.
Patients who seek cosmetic procedures may be suffering from body image disturbances, which can result in depression, anxiety, and a generally diminished quality of life. As an aesthetic medicine practitioner, you’ll play a pivotal role in helping patients overcome these issues, and the resulting benefits can be life-altering.
3. Greater Opportunities for Patient interaction
If you’ve found that you want to get to know your patients, follow up with them, and see them more than just once, anesthesiology probably isn’t the right field for you.
As an anesthesiologist, the patient isn’t going to think of you as their doctor, regardless of any heroic efforts you may have performed to get them through life-saving surgery. If you meet your patient at all, it will most likely be for only a brief amount of time as they’re being prepped for surgery, and when they leave the OR you may never see them again.
In aesthetic medicine, you have the opportunity to get to know your patients, to consult with them about their concerns, and work closely with them to determine the best way to address those concerns.
After treatment, you’ll be the one to follow up with them, and you’ll be the one they thank for making them feel better about themselves or more comfortable with their appearance.
A personal decision
Ultimately, what you choose to do is going to depend on your own unique personality, needs, and interests. But if you’re considering a change, aesthetic medicine can be an excellent option for a wide variety of reasons.
If you’d like to explore the possibilities this field has to offer, take a look at our virtual courses here.