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Career Cruising: Oncologist

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Samantha Pawer

on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of Career Cruising: Oncologist

Pathway of Education – University of British Columbia (UBC)


1. Bachelor of Science (Major in Biochemistry)–
Entrance Requirements
• Pay application fee of $62
Classes in which UBC will use to obtain one's grade point average (GPA):
• English 12
• Principals in Math or Pre-Calculus 12 (minimum 67%)
• Two additional approved Grade 12 courses such as: Biology 12, Physics 12, or Chemistry 12.
Further required courses:
• English 11
• Language 11
• Chemistry 11
• Physics 11
• Principles of Math 11, Pre-Calculus 11, or Foundations of Math 12
• Civic Studies 11, Social Studies 11, or First Nations Studies 12
Cost
• Tuition- ~$5,648 per year
• Books and Supplies- ~ $1,300 per year
• Total- ~ $6,948 per year
Length of Program
• Four years

2. Doctor of Medicine Degree-
Entrance Requirements
• Pay application fee of $105
• Pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and request that the results be sent to UBC.
• Complete at least 90 credits from subjects of English, Biology, General Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Organic chemistry. For BC residents, a minimum of 75% on all attempted courses must be reached.
Cost
• Tuition- ~ $17,064 per year
• Books and Supplies- ~ $3,165 per year
• Total- ~ $20,229
Length of Program
• Four years

3. Now, one is ready for four-five years of hands-on experience in a hospital or medical facility during their residency. During this time, a medical school graduate will work alongside experienced doctors.

4. Two-three more years of residency specific to oncology are ready to commence.

5. Finally, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada exam must be taken. After passing, one has officially become an oncologist!

Career Cruising: Oncologist
By Samantha Pawer

Attributes of an Oncologist

One must be extremely emotionally stable due to the main focus of oncology, and the diseases in which it is centered upon.
As well, an oncologist must be compassionate in addressing areas of discussion that are very touchy subjects with patients and their families. This is a particularly important characteristic because cancer patients go through a lot, and want to feel as though their doctors sincerely want to help them.
Therefore, oncologists must have great communication skills.
Since oncologists deal with such serious situations, they must be decisive.
Those who conduct research also must be a determined inquirer, and analytical.
There are so many aspects to this job, making organization a key to success.
Why I Chose this Career

I am extremely interested in conducting scientific research, learning about diseases, and giving my best effort at solving problems. When I combine all of these attributes, oncology seems to be a great profession for me. Cancer indirectly affects essentially everyone throughout their lifetime, whether the individual, a friend, or family member is diagnosed with the disease. Personally, I've watched as people I know have been diagnosed, and sadly passed away. This has inspired me to get involved in oncology, and truly strive to help patients, so that they and their families do not face the same unfortunate fate.
Workplace Information

Job locations include: hospitals, cancer clinics, pharmaceutical companies, universities or at a private practice.
A day in the life of an oncologist likely includes interviewing and examining patients in their office, as well as testing and evaluating the progress of patients at hospitals or health clinics. Additionally, they communicate with other doctors to determine treatment plans.
As far as work load, most oncologists work full-time, meaning 40-50 hours a week dispersed throughout 5 days. Of course, this estimate can vary, especially considering type of oncologist and experience level. Beginner oncologists will put in many more hours than their more developed counterparts. Realistically, 60 hours per week is not uncommon.
Oncologists can work evening and weekend shifts.
During emergencies, they can be called in even when they are not scheduled.
Due to working with cancer patients and the nature of this occupation, it can cause emotional stress, rather than any physical strain.
Although, those who work in labs are under alternative pressures, as they have to attain results before tight deadlines are up.
This cancer clinic is where an oncologist could work.
Daily Duties and Tasks

• Meeting with patients, discussing their progress, pain levels, and reactions to medication.
• Treating and evaluating patients, writing in their charts, checking vital signs, and taking their blood count.
• Communicating with various other doctors regarding patients.
• Reviewing studies, conducting research and writing up reports.
• Completing paperwork such as insurance forms and applications for financial drug coverage.
• Attending or speaking at seminars.
• Coordinating information sessions for medical students.

Oncologists often spend time speaking with patients (above), and delivering speeches (below).

Salary

Oncologists are paid a set salary by their employer (i.e. a hospital or university), or they bill the government for the services they provide.
This amount of money depending on what type, or what stage an oncologist is at. Obviously, experience, location, and self-employment all contribute to differences in earnings.
As a resident, one typically makes $44,000-$80,000 yearly.
Fully certified medical oncologists earn $150,000-$400,000 per year.
Experienced oncologists with senior positions can earn upwards of $400,000 yearly.
Oncologists also enjoy such benefits as health insurance, a pension plan, as well as paid vacation and sick days. It is important to note that self-employed oncologists in a private practice are able to provide their own benefits.
Education and Training

One must have high grades throughout high school and university, especially in math, science, and English.
After completing 2-4 years of a bachelor’s degree and all required prerequisites, one is ready to write the Medical College Admission Test, and apply for medical school.
After 4 years, medical school will be fulfilled, earning the individual a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. The road to becoming an Oncologist does not end there.
Now, one must work in a hospital or other medical setting, gaining experience in practical, on-the-job training. This period of time – residency - is when the specifics of medicine are developed and applied.
After 4-5 years of residency related to a certain type of medicine, such as internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, etc., another 2 years of more special training are to be completed in medical or radiation oncology.
Finally, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada exam has to be passed, before one can obtain a license in BC to become a certified oncologist.
If you lost count, it takes a total of approximately
13 years to become an oncologist.
To apply for medical school, one must first pass the Medical College Admission Test.
Future Employment and Industry Trends

The need for medical oncologists is evident. There are constant breakthroughs in treatments for certain types of cancer. Since there are so many different variants that humans can be diagnosed with, there will always be more work to be done. As well, as the population ages, and people continue to live longer lives, cancer is not going to vanish or disappear. Unfortunately, the number of people falling victim to this common disease is expected to soar, but even now, current oncologists are seeing their waiting rooms overflow. In fact, oncologists have said that there is a growing need for more people in the field, as very soon, there will be a shortage of these specialized doctors. Personally, I aim to be employed by a hospital or cancer treatment or research centre.
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