A specialist in infectious diseases is someone who will use their extensive and expert knowledge of infectious diseases to treat patients. A specialist of this vicinity would need to ensure that emergency patients who arrive at the hospital are properly taken care of. This would include initial diagnoses and treatment, but would also include secluding the infectious person in an ITU environment. Diseases that would be of particular interest to such a specialist include malaria, HIV and nosocomial infections.

An infectious disease specialist would need to have a great knowledge of the infections that are out there, and also have extensive knowledge of diagnostic and treatment processes, including a lumbar puncture. The training to become a specialist in infectious diseases would be extensive, with insight being offered into the different kinds of infections, including fungi, bacteria and viruses. There may also be the need to learn of other sub-specialities, such as immunology.

Work activities

Typical work activities a specialist of infectious diseases would need to carry out include:

  • Collate and analyse any medical records about patients, paying attention to previous treatments and references to conditions.
  • Perform an array of tests, such as a physical examination and blood test, to determine what infection the patient has.
  • You would need to find out information like whether the patients has travelled abroad recently to a place where there are well known contagious infections.
  • Ensure that safety regulations for other people in and outside the hospital or clinic are upheld when a contagious patient is brought in.
  • Work alongside other sub-specialists of medicine.
  • Be receptive of other peoples’ opinions, but also be sure of your own insights
  • Work in a general hospital or specialist clinic.
  • Provide after care to ensure patients are no longer a threat to others.
  • Continue to study throughout your career in order to learn of any new infections, methods of diagnosis or treatments.

Essential skills

  • Ability to work as part of a medical team and as an individual.
  • Understand both your skills and limitations.
  • Be knowledgeable of infectious diseases and their necessary treatments.
  • Organised and professional manner.
  • Able to ensure that safety regulations are upheld.
  • A desire to help people through difficult times.
  • Able to work constructively in stressful conditions.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Composed manner.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Competent when using computers and other apparatus relevant to medicine.