Disaster Medical Specialist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Disaster Medical Specialist

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Job Description

Disaster medicine is a new specialty for physicians who are required to be the first on the scene in the case of a disaster, or an emergency where masses have been injured or have fallen ill.

One of the primary tasks of disaster medical specialists include helping government and hospitals devise an effective disaster response and prepare recovery plans after the effects of the disaster have subsided.

There are three phases to the practice of disaster medicine. The first phase is the pre-disaster planning. The second phase is the patient triage at the disaster site. The final and ultimate phase is the transport and care of the victims.

A disaster medical specialist can belong to any medical or surgical specialty as long as they have the ability to provide immediate health care under tremendous pressure and in the light of catastrophic circumstances.

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Responsibilities

 

Disaster medical specialists deal with calamities that stem from both natural and manmade causes. Examples of natural disaster include a hurricane or an earthquake.

Examples of a manmade emergency include train derailment or a massive inferno.

The objective of a disaster medical specialist is to minimize the number of casualties as much as possible.They are trained to provide health care services in the field with limited health care resources.

Normally, disaster medical specialists are designated the role of managing other health care professionals who are involved in disaster medicine such as first responders.They may also direct the actions of volunteering social workers.

When not handling disastrous situations and emergencies, these specialists are seen working numerous clinical jobs.

They can work as health care professionals in primary care, emergency departments and specialty clinics.

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Skills

 

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Perceptiveness

Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.

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Working Conditions

 

Disaster medical specialists are trained to deal with uncertainty. They are required to handle emergency situations occurring at anytime, at anyplace.

Since they have to work in locations that are struck by disaster, they are left exposed to numerous hazards. For example, when attending to patients stuck inside a collapsed building, the specialists have to encounter the danger of a spontaneous inferno.

There is no scope for clean and antiseptic medicine in this field. Health care must be provided in limited time and under immense pressure.

The margin for error is very narrow. Specialists are required to make life-or-death decisions on the spot for the betterment of the survivors.

Depending on how long the recovery work takes, disaster medical specialists have to work for days at a stretch with little breaks in between. Under normal circumstances, disaster medical specialists work regular business hours.

The work of a disaster medical specialist is usually voluntary. Their salaries are earned by working as a regular physician. 

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Salary Outlook

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