What does a Pathologist do?

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What is a Pathologist?

Also known as: Immunopathologist, Genetic Pathologist, Chemical Pathologist, Molecular Pathologist, Neuropathologist, Cytopathologist, Forensic Pathologist, Clinical Pathologist, Anatomical Pathologist

A pathologist is a physician in the medical field who studies the causes, nature, and effects of disease. The field of pathology is broad with concentrations on changes in cells, tissues, and organs that are the result of a disease.

Types of Pathologists:

  • Anatomical Pathologist
  • Clinical Pathologist
  • Forensic Pathologist
  • Cytopathologist
  • Neuropathologist
  • Molecular Pathologist
  • Chemical Pathologist
  • Genetic Pathologist
  • Immunopathologist

A Pathologist is a specialized type of Doctor.

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What does a Pathologist do?

Pathologists typically work in one of three main areas of discipline: as teachers, investigators, or diagnosticians. The ability to integrate clinical data with biochemical, molecular, and physiological laboratory studies is fundamental to the work performed on a daily basis.

Individuals who work in the academic field impart their knowledge to medical students, medical colleagues, and other trainees at various levels. Investigators in the field of pathology use laboratory science for disease models, clinical studies, and other experimental programs to further advance the field knowledge, understanding, and treatment options for various diseases. This information is used to both treat and diagnose patients more aggressively in the future. Professionals who work in clinical laboratories or medical settings practice as consulting physicians who develop and apply their knowledge of laboratory and tissue analysis in order to diagnose and treat disease in patients.

It's important to note that professionals who work in the medical industry may also work with patients in the postmortem phase. Research with these patients is used to study disease, or determine if a death was a homicide or from natural causes.

A Pathologist could:

  • Examine kidney tissues of a patient under a microscope to determine if the patient is in need of a transplant.
  • Perform an autopsy to decide if the person died of homicide or natural causes. This information could be used to help solve a crime.
  • Look over the blood test of a pregnant woman to determine if the child she is carrying will be born in good health

What is the workplace of a Pathologist like?

Most professionals in the field can expect to spend a great deal of time planning their research projects, researching the findings of other scientists, and attending meetings with other physicians. They should have the ability to take in a lot of information at one time and the patience to complete sometimes lengthy research projects. They need to be accurate and precise workers, this is especially true for professionals that work to diagnose disease when their findings are a critical component to the care the patient will receive. They will most often work alone, but excellent communication skills are essential to give evidence of their findings in writing or orally.

Because the field of pathology is so broad, the work conditions will vary greatly. However, pathologists most often work in hospitals, offices, classrooms, and laboratories. The typical professional in the field can expect to work a 40-hour work week, but depending on the industry in which they are employed, a work week greater than 40 hours may be expected. Working hours are varied and are often on a rotating shift.

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Further Reading

  • Paediatric Pathology

    Coping with sudden infant deaths, postmortem examinations, and grieving parents takes a certain type of person, but it's a highly rewarding and friendly specialty, says Irene Scheimberg.

  • Choosing Pathology

    Hearing the reasons why a particular physician chose his or her field can shed light on different aspects of the decision as well as validate the thoughts of the medical student on the specialty in question. With this in mind, I offer some information about pathology followed by my testimony as to why I chose pathology with the hopes that it will help medical students considering pathology in their decisions.

  • Who Is The Pathologist?

    In contrast to the popular image of the television show Quincy, we usually do not run around the city, solving murder mysteries, although it would be interesting! Most pathologists work in hospital laboratories or in outpatient reference laboratories.

  • What Do Pathologists Do?

    Pathology, my chosen profession, is not what people think it is - you know, autopsies, riding around on motorcycles solving crimes, glamour...

  • Pathology - What Is Pathology?

    The main branches of pathology are clinical pathology, anatomical pathology or a combination of the two, referred to as general pathology.

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