What's the most difficult job in medical field?

I have always thought veterinarians have to learn so much more than human doctors. They not only have to know how to treat different species, but also different fields… Emergency, dental, surgical, dermatological, cardiac, pediatrics, orthopedics, etc. Basically everything.

Most difficult job…I would say Certified Nurses Assistant. Rough.

Seriously, yeah vets have to know the most and have the broadest skill set.v For human medicine, I would give to the ER doctors. Because they have to deal with everything and make the quick judgement calls. Plus work nights.

Everybody says Pathologists have to have the most knowledge, but I don’t see it.

My friend who is a vet diagnosed her own sister when doctors couldn’t. She was furious about it because they hadn’t felt her foot, just asked her questions. She said she diagnoses that sort of thing with nothing but feeling all the time, asking questions is a luxury.

She also performed brain surgery on her own dog.

Billing coders.

Medical coding is NUTS.

People who work exclusively in the burn ward. That’s a whole lot of excruciating pain and suffering, to have as your daily bread.

I’d be a hot mess after a couple of days, no way could I handle that.

I’d say surgeon–particularly when the patient dies on the table and you have to go face the anxious family. :frowning:

Meh. “Difficult” is so subjective.

In many ways I think our front office staff have the hardest job because they are dealing with people who see them as faceless cogs and who sometimes therefore treat them as places to displace all their angst and frustrations. They also have the least power to do anything about it … they cannot make an appointment spot appear when the patient wants it with the doctor they want if it does not exist, and they have to treat rude people with respect and not take it personally knowing that by the time the family gets back to me they will be all sunshine and smiles.

My office manager … dang tough job managing staff that can sometimes act like a group of middle school kids while dealing with expectations from administration levels above as well.

So really, what is “difficult”? Having a large fund of facts? The dealing with high expectations while not having the power/authority to meet them? Dealing with difficult interpersonal conflicts? Effectively selling behavior changes?

For the physician side I put being a good generalist as the “most difficult” in that you never know which room is another bread and butter and which one is the one room that initially looks brea and butter but isn’t, and when it isn’t being able to handle getting the person pointed in the right direction, a direction often to what is not inside your fund of knowledge but still knowing whose fund of knowledge it is contained in. OTOH it is also a fun and satisfying thing to do and things that are fun and satisfying are not really so difficult …

A specialist has a much smaller list of problems to be aware of even if they need to know those problems in depth. The surgeon giving bad news to a family … do it a few times and you quickly learn the skill of “detached concern.” (That means you have empathy while remaining still within a certain emotional safety zone and distance.) Never fun but not so hard. Then again excellent fine motor skills is very difficult if you do not possess them naturally. Likewise the burn ward … detached concern is skill quickly mastered.

As for the amount of knowledge mastered … you either know lots not as well or less very well, depending on the needs of the job. The amount to know in medicine is vast and NO ONE knows but a tiny portion of it. The issue is always how much what they do know overlaps with what they need most days and how good of a job they do recognizing what is outside that small circle and how they access that information when needed.

What is difficult depends on who you are though.

I would have said “neurology” - the specialty where they always know what’s wrong, but can’t do anything about it.

That’s gotta be tough.


I vote for Phlebologist, I swear, succesfully spiking a vein is as much art as science.

To me, it would be any field which involves witnessing the frequent death of children.

My vote is for anyone working in the paediatric oncology unit.

I knew a pediatric neuro-oncologist, once. Yikes!

We’re far too clever to show off for the likes of you. :cool:

Anyway, vets don’t have that difficult a job.

Being the patient, for certain extreme values of “disease”.

Death Panelist.

Having a specialty with a name nobody can pronounce or remember.

I also vote for vet because it’s not glamorous and you don’t get the money/chicks.

Probably the hardest job I’ve seen medically are the nurses who have to move the morbidly obese people. Honestly, they should use a forklift or engine block crane, but to avoid hurting poor fatty’s feelings, they pretend 1-4 people can do it. One time in a surgery show, firemen had to move one 600 lb guy down the stairs and out the door. I think they needed like 9 people and the rescue catcher thing for people who jump off buildings. I also think this is one job that nearly every doctor will readily admit they can’t do alone.

Pregnant woman in the back of a taxi?
“Give me some tissues, your jacket and some room.”

Heart attack on a plane?
“I’m a doctor, let me through!”

Fat guy needs to be moved to another room?
“We’re gonna have to call somebody.”

The most difficult job is the one you’re not cut out for, but you get floated there or it’s the only job you could get.

Which is another way of saying one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Some of us love NICU work, others break out in a sweat at the mere thought. There was a nurse on the Dope who once described working with preemies as “these little floppy things that try to die on you when you give them a bath,” which sounds horrible, but I found simultaneously hilarious and completely true…yet (after I finish another degree) I want to do NICU work anyhow, because that’s the one room in the hospital where I suddenly feel alive and alert and useful.

Every specialty has someone for whom it’s their calling. For that person, the most difficult job is the most rewarding job, and doing an “easier” job would be more difficult, if you know what I mean.

But CNA’s have seriously the hardest working job, in terms of most sweat and manual labor and nonstop moving on your feet all day or night long (and in return for the crappiest pay). I honestly don’t know how anyone can stand to remain a CNA for very long…but again, that may be someone’s calling, and it may be the most rewarding thing they can do.

This isn’t fun at autopsy either.

Hazmat janitors. Having to clean up piss and shit and blood and vomit and pus. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that.