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Endocrinologist Responsibilities

by Dachell McSween, studioD

Endocrinologists specialize in treating conditions that affect human glands and hormones. To become one, you must first earn a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry or a science-related field. You must also complete medical school, internship and residency programs. Then, you must become board certified specializing in internal medicine, which includes completing the residency program and passing an evaluation and written exam. Endocrinologists must have good communication skills to deal effectively with patients and medical staff. They also need good research skills and the ability to work under pressure.

Examine Patients

Endocrinologists examine patients to find health problems caused by the pancreas, thyroid and adrenal glands. While examining patients, they also look for diabetes, infertility and metabolic disorders. Common diagnostic procedures used by endocrinologists include fine-needle biopsies, bone density and blood glucose tests. A general doctor may refer a patient to see an endocrinologist for complicated disorders, such as thyroid cancer, autoimmune disease and uncontrolled diabetes.

Provide Treatment for Medical Conditions

Endocrinologists often make recommendations on dietary or hygiene changes to treat patients. For example, they might create special diet and exercise plans to treat patients suffering from lipid disorders, or use hormone replacement therapies for women dealing with menopause. They also prescribe different medications to help patients deal with illnesses. For example, an endocrinologist may prescribe medications to help diabetes patients control their blood sugar.

Provide Emotional Support

Since many patients are going through life-changing illnesses, endocrinologists also provide emotional support. They discuss the best ways for patients to deal with illnesses on a daily basis. Endocrinologists also seek out the most suitable ways to treat patients based on their lifestyles. They often work together with a primary care physician to make sure patients are taking medications and following treatment plans.

Research Diseases

Although endocrinologists spend a majority of their time meeting with patients, they might also work as researchers in clinics and labs. They conduct research on different diseases and find various alternatives for treatments. This research is also used for pharmaceutical companies, public research institutes, colleges and universities. Depending on the disease, they may work with both children and adults to perform clinical tests. While conducting research, they may also supervise a research staff.

About the Author

Dachell McSween has contributed to the "New York Daily News" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She also writes for various online publications. McSween received a B.A. in journalism from Pace University and an M.S. in publishing from New York University.

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