Pulmonologists (sometimes referred to as “lung doctors”) are physicians who diagnose and treat disorders that affect the respiratory system. Pulmonologists are sometimes referred to as pneumologists, respirologists, or respiratory physicians. Pulmonology is considered a specialty of internal medicine, but pulmonologists also often find their work in critical care settings.
What does a pulmonologist do? What is day to day work for a pulmonologist like?
Some of the most common disorders pulmonologists face on a day to day basis are cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, and chest infections. What a specific pulmonologist does regularly will vary from location to location and individual skills. Pulmonologists are generally not involved in major surgical procedures, but they do complete specifically designed diagnostic procedures aimed at procuring samples from the chest and lungs. Other common duties carried out by pulmonologists are investigation of samples in a laboratory setting, chest X-rays, bronchoscopy, spirometry, and sleep studies. They may also be involved in the treatment of lung cancer in some settings and capacities. Pulmonologists also often find themselves working with and monitoring patients being treated with mechanical ventilation.
With all this said, however, it’s important to keep in mind that an individual pulmonologist’s day will vary greatly based on specialty and location. The work you do in a doctor’s office will be different from the work you do in a sleep lab. There really is a great range of work. Although pulmonology is the study of the respiratory system, pulmonologists handle a massively assorted range of internal medicine problems.
What is pulmonology like compared to other medical specialties?
PCCM (Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine) doctors are known for their competence, knowledge, and amount of work. They take care of business. If there’s a medical emergency going down, you can bet that the hospital’s pulmonologist will be involved. Despite the respect they command from other physicians, they’re also known for being low-key, especially compared to flashier specialties like surgeons or cardiologists. Unfortunately, they also are generally paid less than their more showy counterparts.