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Urologist


Description

People with medical conditions associated with the urogenital area often suffer in silence because they are embarrassed or afraid to talk about such matters with doctors. Yet such conditions left untreated may result in serious problems down the road. Urologists are both advisors and qualified specialist surgeons of the urinary tract region, such as the kidneys, uterus, prostate and bladder. They diagnose and treat a wide range of disorders affecting the male reproductive system and the urinary tracts of both men and women.

A healthy bladder is very important as it helps keep one's kidneys and other related organs intact. However, many people have different problems associated with this area. Urology deals with diseases and disorders of the kidneys, urinary tract, prostate gland and the male sex organs. Conditions that urologists treat includes: urinary incontinence, kidney and bladder stones, kidney, bladder, prostate and testicular cancers, prostate disorders, such as inflammation or enlargement, sexual dysfunction and infertility in men, and urinary tract infections.

Urologists often work closely with other specialists, such as nephrologists, endocrinologists and oncologists since all of these areas are related. They may in fact work in a clinic that offers various services and procedures to patients.

There are eight subspecialty areas of urology: pediatric urology, urologic oncology, renal transplantation, male infertility, urinary tract stones, female urology, neurourology, and erectile dysfunction or impotence. Pediatric urologists treat urological problems in children, including hypospadius and circumcisions. Urologic oncologists treat cancers of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs, including the prostate, bladder, penile, and the testicular cancers in men, and kidney and bladder cancer in women. Renal transplantation specialists perform kidney transplants and male infertility specialists work with men to treat problems in fathering children.

Specialists in urinary tract stones treat kidney stones, which are formed when urine becomes too concentrated and chemicals that usually dissolve instead crystallize, sometimes causing severe pain. Kidney stones can be removed surgically and can be prevented from reoccurring. Female urologists diagnose and treat urinary incontinence, pelvic outlet relaxation disorders, and genitourinary trauma. Neurourology is the area that treats disorders caused by neurological trauma, or neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, or spina bifida. Finally, some doctors specialize in erectile dysfunction or impotence and help men who have difficulties achieving or sustaining erection.
 
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  Interests and Skills  
Urologists are interested in helping people, first and foremost. They have the intellectual ability required to successfully complete the academic training and to pursue a course of lifelong learning and the stamina required to work long hours. They have excellent communication skills and can get along with people well and instill confidence. They will need emotional strength and maturity, and passion, empathy and energy.

Urologists should enjoy finding solutions to problems, dealing with people, and directing the work of others. They must also be proficient in urological medicine - they must have and apply the knowledge to diagnose illnesses. Also, ethics is a strong point for these types of people because they have to do what is right for their patients with their best interests in mind.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of genitourinary organs and tract.
  • Examine patients using x-ray machines, fluoroscopes, and other equipment to aid in determining the nature and extent of disorders or injuries of the urinary tract and kidneys
  • Treat patients using diathermy machines, catheters, cystoscopes, radium emanation tubes, and similar equipment
  • Perform surgery on damaged and cancerous areas
  • Prescribe and administer urinary antiseptics and antibiotics to combat infections
  • Urologist's working conditions depend on where they work. Most, however, work long days, about 60 to 70 hours per week. They may work rotating shifts or be on call. When on call, they can be called into the hospital at any time, day or night. Some also work evenings and weekends to accommodate patients' schedules. In a typical day, most urologists see a succession of patients, and may spend a considerable amount of time doing paperwork. This occupation can be both emotionally demanding and emotionally rewarding.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Urologists work in hospitals, universities, have their own private practice or work with a group of other specialists in a group practice. Some also work for pharmaceutical companies and research facilities.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Urologists can learn new skills, add more patients, or change jobs. They may work primarily as surgeons, specialize as nephrologists or oncologists, or become directors of research, hospital administrators, medical school administrators, and teachers in medical schools and residency programs. They may manage clinics or do research for pharmaceutical companies. They may also write and publish in scientific and medical journals or take jobs in medical public relations.
 

  Educational Paths  
Becoming a urologist requires a long educational road, so be prepared for a lifelong learning experience. Most urologists start with a Bachelor of Science degree, however some Bachelor of Arts graduates may be accepted into medical school programs. While in high school, take math and science classes. Also, not all medical schools require a bachelor's degree and with good marks, some students can get accepted after two years of undergraduate study. Check with the school for their requirements before applying.

Urologists complete four years of medical school and then spend five years in a residency program in urology. Completion of the qualifying licensing examinations is required to practice medicine. Licensure by the regional licensing authority is required.

Finally, before entering medical school, volunteer in a hospital, nursing home or community center. This will give you valuable experience in dealing with people who need help and what it is like to work as a doctor.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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