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Careers in medicine

Careers in medicineSo, you think you might want to be a doctor? Deciding to study medicine will be the first of many choices.

There are more than 60 branches of medicine - each is unique but there are many common characteristics.

Medical specialisms broadly fall into one of the following categories:


Anaesthesia is not just about putting patients to sleep! Anaesthetists are essential members of the surgical team, and are also involved in developing treatments to relieve chronic pain and offering intensive care support to very sick patients.

General practice

GPs (General Practitioners) are the first point of contact with the NHS for most people. They provide a complete spectrum of care within the local community: dealing with problems that often combine physical, psychological and social components.


Medical specialtisms cover a wide range of roles ranging from accident and emergency to clinical genetics. They cover most of the conditions for which people are admitted to hospital. Many of the specialties focus on particular organs such as the heart (cardiology), or disease processes such as cancers (oncology).

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Obstetricians and gynaecologists give specialised medical treatment and advice related to the female reproductive system, and care for women during pregnancy and childbirth.


Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat disorders related to the eye, orbit, and visual system.


Paediatricians diagnose and provide treatment for babies, infants, children and adolescents who have medical problems or are not developing properly.


Pathologists specialise in the detection of disease through the use of a variety of investigative techniques. They also play an important role in identifying sources of disease and reducing the possible risks of further spread.


Psychiatrists deal with mental health. They will often combine a broad general caseload alongside an area of special expertise and research.


Clinical radiology is the use of imaging to diagnose, treat and monitor various disease processes.


Surgeons specialise in operating on particular parts of the body, or address specific injuries, diseases or degenerative conditions.

Find out more about all the different specialisms as Medical Careers