Blood is so important to health care that the careers that
deal with research of blood: its collection, care, transport, and
administration; and its diseases and uses, cover a spectrum of society. There
are many many career paths that have to do with blood.
Obviously there are physicians, especially those specializing
in hematology, oncology or
pathology, but there are many, many others such as
physician assistants, nurse clinicians, laboratory specialists, basic research
scientists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, immunologists, statisticians,
engineers, research and laboratory technicians, nurses, phlebotomists,
chemists... the list goes on and on.
Why Choose Hematology?
Choosing a medical specialty is one of the most important decisions you can
make as a medical student. There are many options to think about when
determining your career path. For example, do your interests lie mainly in
patient care, research, teaching, or all of the above? Do you envision yourself
going into a community-based practice, working at an academic medical center, or
perhaps doing research in a corporate or government setting? If you have
an interest in hematology, it is possible to pursue any of these career tracks.
Hematology is a cognitive specialty, which means that it requires critical
thinking and problem-solving to diagnose complicated medical cases and design
treatment plans, as opposed to performing routine procedures. Hematology
combines a broad range of disciplines for example, hematologists care for
patients with certain cancers, genetic diseases, and illnesses that can result
from hospitalization for other conditions. Hematologists are often involved in
the care of critically ill patients, and they treat some of the most common
diseases in the western world (such as anemia and thrombosis). More often
than not, hematology training programs are combined with
oncology, so many
physicians choose to become board-certified in both hematology and medical
The field of hematology offers great potential for groundbreaking advances,
and patient care and research in hematology are closely aligned. For example,
research into the molecular cause of diseases has led to the development of
targeted therapies that have revolutionized patient care. From identifying a
genetic factor that increases oneā€™s risk of blood clots, to caring for a child
with leukemia, to recommending a course of treatment for a patient with sickle
cell anemia, hematologists face a variety of challenging cases that span a wide
range of ages and ethnicities.
Today, there are thousands of hematologists practicing in the United States.
In the near future, there will be an even greater need for hematologists as the
aging Baby Boomer population results in an increased demand for doctors across
For those that choose a career in hematology, the American Society of
Hematology (ASH) offers a number of resources to help support their
professional development, including a career-development timeline for
trainees, information about awards and funding opportunities, career advice,
educational tools, and an online job bank that lists open positions in
hematology. Visit the
ASH Web site to
access these resources and more.