Pathology, dermatology and family medicine are often considered relatively less stressful than other medical specialties. Pathology involves the diagnosis of diseases by laboratory analysis of tissues and body fluids such as blood and urine. Many consider this to be an undemanding specialty because of its controllable hours. The work environment is also quiet and relaxed.
Unlike emergency doctors, pathologists do not experience sudden medical emergencies or unpredictable situations. In addition, residency (postgraduate medical training) in this field only takes 4 years. But keep in mind that pathology is a field rooted in academics and research. Those who don't like paperwork and scientific study may find this specialty challenging.
This specialty is similar to pathology in that it focuses on diagnostics and analysis. However, in the case of radiology, diagnosis and treatment involve the use of X-rays and other imaging technologies. The main function of the radiologist is to interpret medical images and detect suspicious cells and abnormalities in the body. They also check for fractures and dislocations of bones.
Ophthalmology specializes in eye care. This branch of medicine requires a 3-year residency. The work of an ophthalmologist includes basic eye care, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, and providing medical and surgical eye treatment. Although this specialty involves complex microsurgery, it is not as exhausting as, for example, pancreatectomy and bariatric bypass.
The hours you have to devote are also quite reasonable. In addition, the patients you manage in this field are almost never in critical condition, resulting in low stress and pressure in the workplace. This specialty focuses less on medical issues and more on research. Psychiatry involves the study of human behavioral and mental processes and their associated disorders.
To be a psychiatrist, you need to finish a 4-year residency. It is considered a low-stress specialty because the hours are undemanding and the work does not involve surgery or any intense medical procedure. Instead, psychiatrists talk and listen to patients with mental illness in private one-on-one sessions. Dermatology is a specialty that studies human skin.
Dermatologists perform a 3-year residency before becoming professionals. These doctors review and treat skin diseases and disorders ranging from the most serious, such as skin cancer and lupus, to acne and milder moles. Those who work in dermatology often do not care for patients with life-threatening conditions. As such, stress levels in the workplace are very low.
In addition, working hours are stable, giving way to a healthy work-life balance. When asked how they cope with burnout, half of respondents chose to exercise, while 46 percent said they talked to family or close friends, and 42 percent indicated they slept. Unfortunately, however, some physicians' coping mechanisms were not ideal, with 36 percent claiming they isolate themselves from others, while a third eat junk food and 22 percent drink alcohol. There is always someone who needs medical attention, either in the form of a simple checkup or vital surgery for the treatment of a life-threatening condition.
But keep in mind that while these medical specialties are the least stressful, this does not mean that the work involved should be taken lightly. You need four additional years of training, the hours are especially long and uncontrollable, the work is stressful and the responsibility is high. And while the meaning of “less stressful” differs for each person, most doctors would say that a low-stress specialty would be one that had a reasonable and controllable schedule, less likely to experience burnout in the workplace, little on-call time, and no shifts on weekends. Stress is usually low (night call can be difficult, but it's not close to other fields) and hours are light.
This specialty has the longest schooling requirement, since you are a dentist and medical surgeon. When thinking about becoming a doctor, medical students may be interested to know which specialties can be considered the most stressful medical jobs. Too late for me right now, but I've been considering pathology, MS and even pediatrics because of the little stress they seem to have and the positive experiences I've had in my rotations, not necessarily because I liked the specialty, but because the doctors seemed happy. .