Doctors are becoming more aware of the possibility of practicing outside of their trained specialty, even though it may not be a topic commonly discussed. One promising option for doctors seeking a more sustainable and less stressful career is wound care. In this subspecialty with increasing demand, wound care provides numerous advantages for physicians looking to make the move into this career path. Wound care is a viable option for physicians seeking a change, as the necessary skills are generally transferable from other specialties.
One of the most prevalent reasons why a physician might opt to change specialties is burnout, which can stem from a variety of factors such as overwhelming workloads, inefficiencies in medical practice, administrative issues, lack of control in the workplace, and insufficient support from the health organization. However, there are also many personal reasons why physicians might consider switching specialties.
To be a successful wound care physician, one must possess strong clinical skills, be proficient in procedures, and have excellent interpersonal skills in order to build strong relationships with nurses, patient care teams, and geriatric patients.
Past Specialties Lead to Wound Care Careers
This subspecialty is a good fit for physicians from various specialty backgrounds, as well as those who have not completed residency but have at least two postgraduate years of experience. Physicians who make the move into wound care often have specialized in one of the following: general surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery, transplant surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, urgent care, or hospitalists. With wound care being a growing field, physicians often feel enthusiastic to expand their knowledge while contributing to the advancements in wound care.
After completing a demanding five-year residency and two-year fellowship, vascular surgeons undergo board certification before embarking on their career. However, even after years of dedication to their profession, some surgeons may feel that their work-life balance is out of sync, leaving little time for family and personal interests. With a work schedule that can include up to 20 hours of surgery per week, in addition to other medical responsibilities and up to three nights on call, vascular surgery can be an intense, high-stress, and unpredictable field. This can be particularly challenging for surgeons with young families, leading to dissatisfaction and burnout.
Fortunately, wound care presents a viable career option for vascular surgeons looking for a more stable and predictable work schedule. With a consistent 9 to 5 routine, wound care allows surgeons to make use of their procedural skills while also making a significant impact on patient outcomes.
General surgeons typically work long hours and often must prioritize work over personal commitments. This may result in a general sense of dissatisfaction and burnout. In fact, general surgeons have the highest reported rates of burnout (47%) among surgical specialties.
Plastic surgeons undergo a two-year general surgery residency followed by a four-year plastic surgery residency. It's not uncommon for plastic surgeons and residents to experience burnout as well, including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and feelings of inadequacy. Research from a 2018 meta-analysis indicates that burnout is positively associated with factors such as dissatisfaction with future career plans and working in surgical units that lack senior surgeons.
Internal medicine physicians are highly knowledgeable about various organ systems in the body. However, they often feel frustrated because they mainly treat patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, which often do not provide noticeable, successful outcomes from treatment.
Wound care doctors on the other hand can observe their patients' progress throughout the course of their treatment, providing immense satisfaction to internists. When internal medicine physicians transition to wound care, they experience high levels of clinical satisfaction, enjoy performing routine procedures, and value building relationships with patients. They also appreciate the schedule and improved work-life balance that wound care offers.
Family medicine physicians (general practitioners) complete a two-year residency before obtaining board certification. They are educated in a broad range of diseases and treatments and often establish long-term relationships with their patients; however, family medicine doctors have one of the highest rates of burnout in the medical field at a reported rate of 51%. In contrast, a 2018 study based on data from the National Family Medicine Graduate Survey found that family physicians who practice in multiple locations and perform a variety of clinical procedures experience lower rates of burnout than those who do not.
Medical Grads Who Have Not Completed Residency
Medical residents may leave their residency program for various reasons, such as the challenge of achieving a satisfying work-life balance within their chosen specialty. Fortunately, those who have completed at least two years of residency training are typically eligible to pursue a career in wound care, where many physicians report higher levels of job satisfaction.
Finding a Wound Care Job
Skilled Wound Care helps motivate practitioners to look forward to the work they do every day. Our physicians love their careers in wound care. We are openly recruiting new and qualified candidates to join our team.
If you're looking for a rewarding career in wound care, apply today to explore the possibilities and advantages of joining our team of skilled physicians.