Pursuing a career in bariatric medicine can be incredibly rewarding. When you work within the specialty of bariatric medicine, you will be able to help your patients achieve their long-held dreams of being healthy and fit.
Helping people achieve a healthy weight reduces the multiple co morbidities of obesity thus truly helping patients live healthier lives and enjoy greater longevity.
You will find that you get a great deal of satisfaction out of your work, and that you are inspired by your patients to continue your own health journey. Award winning physician and educator Dr. Jan McBarron lists the reasons why people interested in the healthcare field should consider a professional career in bariatric medicine.
Being Part of a Patient’s Healthy Lifestyle Transformation
Specializing in bariatric medicine means that you will be there for patients who are experiencing major life changes. Most of the time, these changes are positive, but there will always be patients that have a difficult time with the process.
If you can encourage them and let them know that their difficulties have been experienced by other patients, you may be able to help them feel better about themselves and ultimately achieve their goal.
It is incredibly rewarding to see a patient who entered your practice at an unhealthy weight transform before your eyes. The effort is mainly on the patient’s side, since the health and lifestyle changes need to be permanent in order to keep the weight off, but you can be an important factor in helping them succeed.
Seeing Obesity as a Disease
Many physicians, particularly primary care doctors, believe that weight loss is a simple mathematical operation. Eat less and exercise more, and weight loss is inevitable. This oversimplifies the reality of obesity.
Many bariatric medicine physicians recognize that often obesity is the cause of overeating and lack of exercise, rather than the other way around. Approaching obesity like an authentic disease helps doctors to be more compassionate toward their patients. It is important to remember not to judge obesity as a lack of willpower.
Variety in Your Daily Work
People who choose to work in the field of obesity medicine are never bored. There is always something new happening, and there are new challenges that must be met.
Working in the obesity medicine specialty means that you are there to support patients who are at a low point in their lives. They will be grateful to you when your work is done, and they will greatly appreciate your professionalism and kindness.
Steps to Becoming a Bariatric Medicine Specialist
To enter the specialty of bariatric medicine, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree in Biology or another related field. You will then need to attend medical school including clinical rotations. After medical school, you will need to complete a residency.
After completing residency, as with any specialty, you can begin the process of board certification. You should become certified by the Obesity Medicine Association formerly the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.
This professional organization can help you medically assist your patients, so they lose and maintain their weight successfully. Ultimately helping patients live their healthiest lives.
Advantages of a Bariatric Career
Bariatric specialists typically work within a hospital, often in a weight loss center. Their hours are generally during the workday only, making it an attractive specialty for those who want to spend more time with their families.
Medical Bariatrics as well as Bariatric Surgery are often lucrative careers making this one of the higher-paid specialties. Paraprofessionals and nurses are also well-compensated. However, patient compassion must always come first then financial compensation follows.
Demand for Doctors
The demand for physicians will rise by 24 percent in the next ten years. This means that it is a good time to begin a medical career. Depending on where you live, Bariatrics may be somewhat dependent on the state of the economy because it may not always be covered by insurance.
In times of economic distress, people are likely to put off bariatric medical care rather than pay out of pocket. However Bariatrics is “happy medicine” patients move towards health and longevity rather than disease and premature death.
Being There for Patients
The most rewarding part of a bariatric career is seeing your patients triumph over the odds. Setting them up for success can be difficult due to the many mitigating factors which may come into play, but most patients achieve a lifestyle change and a healthier body.
Dr. Jan McBarron recommends in addition to physicians, anyone interested in the medical field investigate a career in bariatrics.