A geriatric physician or geriatrician is one of the medical specialties that healthcare professionals are the least aware of. However, with the rapidly aging population, they are of one of the most in-demand specialties. As the baby boomer generation begins to age, you can expect a huge increase in elderly patients making their way into your practice, which is a great reason why you might want to consider a geriatric position. Geriatric Physicians become experts in long-term illnesses affecting the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, dementia, and heart disease. They also become highly knowledgeable in the most common complaints of the aging process, including incontinence, reduced memory, physical weakness, infection, and immobility. You should also be able to handle the mental effects of aging and be able to provide the correct treatment and advice for your aging patients. Below are just a few of the many benefits of a geriatric physician job and explanations of why it might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Benefits of a Geriatric Physician Job
No Shortage of Patients
Older Americans over 65 will comprise 20 percent of the population by 2030, jumping from 35 million in 2000 to an estimated 70 million. This jump will be due in part to increased life expectancy. At first glance, this serves as a positive. Longer lives are among the blessings of living in the modern era. However, as people live longer, they are also susceptible to more chronic disease as they age. This is exactly why if you become a geriatric physician, you’ll certainly have no shortage of patients to take care of. One of the biggest benefits of a geriatric physician job is the stability.
No Shortage of Jobs
Another benefit of a geriatric physician job is the availability of jobs. While there are 7,000 geriatricians practicing in the U.S. right now, there’s a larger issue… we will need much more in the coming years. According to the American Geriatrics Society, we’ll need approximately 30,000 geriatric physicians by 2030. With this strong increase in jobs, it’s no surprise that many healthcare professionals are looking towards a geriatric physician job as a steady career. Given that there are about 12 million older Americans who require geriatric care today, that leaves one geriatrician for every 1,600 seniors — more than double the number of patients a single geriatrician can handle. One of the biggest hurdles that many will face when deciding to become a geriatric physician is the education required. Many view the extra years spent in residency and schooling as a burden and because of this, they will often opt to look for a different specialty that requires less education and time.
The Rewarding Feeling
Finally, one of the last major benefits of a geriatric physician job is the reward it provides. Many choose to become a geriatric physician simply because they want to feel like they are helping someone into the next stage in life. A geriatric physician job can be time-consuming and stressful in many cases. It requires a willingness to go through all of the diagnoses, explain them in detail to the patient, the empathy to understand what the patient wants, and a willingness to deal with the system. However, it’s also about the ability to find joy in simply supporting patients, in helping to prevent or manage most of their conditions, since many can’t be reversed. Many love this hands-on interaction and will love figuring out how to make the aging process run as smoothly as they can for their patients. While many think that the specialty isn’t glamorous or rewarding, others see this as one of the most important specialties out there. Transitioning into the aging process is a very personal and tough process, but a good geriatric physician can ensure that the process is successful.