A specialist in hematology is a doctor who treats diseases of the blood. This type of professional must have solid research and analytical skills and be self-driven. An individual who seeks to enter this vocational area needs to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program in a science subject followed by four years of medical school. He or she then should complete two to six years of residency training in this specialty field. This type of professional must be able to consult with patients and diagnose problems in addition to treating blood issues and completing continuing education courses.
A critical task of a specialist in hematology is to meet with new patients in a consultation setting. During an initial examination, this type of doctor asks patients about their symptoms. He or she also considers notes taken by the internal medicine or family care physician who referred a patient over to him or her for specialized treatment.
One other valuable duty of a person in this line of work is to make diagnoses. A specialist in hematology orders employees to draw blood and then studies the content of the blood to determine a patient’s health condition. Potential illnesses could include sickle cell anemia, which is a disease in which the body makes hard, crescent-shaped red blood cells that block the flow of blood, thus leading to infections and pain. Another possible sickness that a professional in this field can diagnose is anemia, or the lack of red blood cells, which can cause fatigue or lead to more serious problems such as heart damage.
A specialist in hematology also has to be able to decide how to treat blood problems. For example, surgery may need to be performed in some cases. He or she may be additionally responsible for handling blood transfusions, chemotherapy for cancer patients, and even bone marrow transplants when working in this career.
Keeping his or her license current is extremely important in this career area. He or she first has to pass an exam to earn a medical license, which is required in most regions. As a specialist, the professional also must complete testing to earn board certification in his or her particular area of work in the medical field. Maintaining these credentials when a person becomes a specialist in hematology includes attending seminars at industry conferences and taking college courses for continuing education credit.