The discipline of Infectious disease, or Infectiology, as it’s also referred to as, is a subspecialty that comes under the category of internal medicine. Internal medicine revolves around the diagnosis and mitigation of infectious diseases.
In general, infections that commonly occur are brought to the attention of general practitioners of internal medicine, also referred to as general internists. Specialists physicians also treat common infections. But whenever an unknown infection props up, then the internists who deal with infectious diseases are called upon for the purpose of conducting a diagnosis and mitigating the infection.
The discipline of infectious disease demands an elaborate comprehension of the manner in which bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections enter the human body and manifests. The scope of this speciality also extends to aspects such as antimicrobial agents, antibiotic resistance, vaccines, and other immunobiological agents.
Roles of Infectious Diseases specialists
Due to the specific training they receive, infectious disease internists are in a unique position to take into account the environmental aspects, work-related factors, and specific living conditions of the patient, to figure out what may have made the patient exposed to or vulnerable to infection. Infectious disease internists are well-versed with the fundamentals of epidemiology and how infectious diseases are transmitted from one host to another. Hence, they are able to serve in different roles, to mitigate the spread of infections. Some of those roles are as under:
Infectious disease physicians work alongside other physicians, acting in the capacity of a consultant.
Infectious disease specialists also directly offer consultation to patients, in their practice or in the hospital.
Infectious disease internists, provide care and attention to and track the condition of, patients who encounter peculiar infections, over an extended period of time.
Internists in infectious diseases also provide care and attention to certain individuals or groups of people in a dedicated environment. For instance, infectious diseases internists often work in wound care clinics for HIV patients, where they are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the infection does not spread during the treatment of wounds or injuries.
Infectious disease internists also serve in the position of infection control experts or epidemiologists for a hospital or any other kind of community-based care centre.
Infectious disease specialists also contribute academically, as they provide consultation on clinical research.
Responsibilities of Infectious disease specialist
Infectious disease specialists are tasked with the responsibility of diagnosing and managing unknown, unusually difficult, or extremely complex infections. The primary responsibilities of an infectious disease specialist are as under:-
An ID(infectious disease) specialist reads the medical data of the patient to reach a conclusion about the type of infection that is affecting the patient. The medical data includes records, x-rays, and lab reports.
To reach a diagnosis, an ID specialist can also perform a physical examination of the patient.
Based on their knowledge and understanding, ID internists arrive at a conclusion by going through the test reports and provide a diagnosis of the infection, which not only proves crucial in determining the kind of treatment that should be administered but also sometimes prevents the infection from recurring.
ID specialists map out the course of treatment that the patient with infection has to undergo, and whether or not antibiotics should be administered.
Additional Skills required by Infectious disease specialists
Some other skills that an ID specialist can benefit from are as below:
An appetite for learning: Specialists working in the discipline of Infectious diseases must remain up-to-date with the new research findings in the field.
A knack for collaboration: An ID specialist should learn how to collaborate with others and work in cohesion with others. It is because, frequently, ID specialists have to work along with other general physicians and internists.
A handle on communication: An ID specialist must have decent written and verbal communication skills. This will allow them to better convey the course of treatment or potential outcomes to patients.
Current Required Educations for a career in Infectiology
Usually, the specialised training of an ID specialist involves the following steps:
First, they have to complete four years of medical school.
Then they have to study general internal medicine for two or three years.
This is followed by training in specialised domains such as microbiology or tropical diseases.
Finally, they are required to obtain Board certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Careers path for an Infectious disease specialist
There are several career paths that one can take as an ID specialist:
One can work for a government agency or research departments such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) or the National Institute of Health(NIH).
Working as an epidemiologist, ID specialists can work to prevent the spread of infections in Hospitals. Infections that occur patients are getting treated for other diseases or disorders are mitigated by ID specialists, who ensure that such breakouts of infections can be prevented in the future.
One can establish a practice of their own and provide patient care.
ID specialists can also dedicate themselves to developing treatments for and providing daily care to individuals suffering from HIV and AIDS.
ID specialists can build a career in the domain of pharmaceutical development, by working with drug manufacturers and manufacturers of diagnostics products. This career enables ID specialists to work on and develop new drug treatments for infections.
- Pay Scale as per the Experience
As per December 2020 statistics, the average salary of entry-level infectious disease doctors in the United States is around $175,449. ID specialists who have between one to four years of experience earn, on average, around $189,097.
- Top companies to work with
The Mayo Clinic Division of Infectious Diseases(Rochester, Minnesota)
Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)
Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
New York-Presbyterian Hospital (New York City)
- Other Employment Opportunities
ID specialists can choose any of the following specializations, and explore the employment opportunities in these fields:
Intensive care medicine
Clinical neurophysiology, among others.
Pro & Cons of being an Infectious disease specialist
● ID specialists help individuals who are suffering from Infectious diseases.
● ID specialists help identify new, unknown infections and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
● ID specialists discover new drugs, treatments, diagnostic methods to determine and treat infectious diseases.
● The average pay scale of an ID specialist is certainly a plus.
● As a part of their job, ID specialists have to witness the suffering of individuals who are being affected by an infection. In case of a particularly difficult parasitic infection, the patients are exposed to extreme pain and discomfort.
● The education and training that one has to undertake to become an infectious disease specialist are quite prolonged, grilling, and cost-exhaustive.
● Many ID specialists take student loans to complete their education, which can pile up over time and could become a hefty sum of money to pay back.
Infectious disease specialists are entrusted with a great deal of responsibility, however, walking the path of becoming an ID specialist is an extremely satisfying endeavor. By informing yourself about the profession and making the right choices, you can make this path uncomplicated. LikeHire is one of the most useful platforms out there that is helping healthcare professionals to find the right employment opportunities to further their careers. By connecting recruiters and medical professionals, Link Hire is offering robust support to both.