What is it Like to Specialize in Dermatology?

Lori Honeycutt, MDLori Honeycutt, MD, was first exposed to dermatology practice as a registered nurse at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX. She was amazed at how so many systemic diseases had skin manifestations and how the diagnostic process took that into account. “I loved medicine in general,” she says “but I was also interested in performing surgeries and cosmetic procedures, so dermatology was a natural progression for me.”

After many years as an established dermatologist, she is even more convinced that dermatology is a good fit. “I am constantly challenged intellectually and I’m able to improve people’s self-esteem and lives through surgery and procedures,” she says. “Of course, the lifestyle is superior to many specialties in that there isn’t any on-call or many emergencies.”

Hands down, what she most enjoys about practicing dermatology “has always been and will always be” the interaction with patients and the satisfaction she gets when they show appreciation for her work. “It may be a small gift they took time to make or simply telling me that I somehow improved their quality of life,” she says.

Dr. Honeycutt believes that the challenges of dermatology practice are the same that bedevil many physicians nowadays – decreasing reimbursements, poor prescription and insurance coverage, and administrative red tape.

When asked about her most memorable experience as a dermatology practitioner, she recounted one case she “will never ever forget … a tragic burn victim, a very famous figure. Of course, privacy issues prevent me from going into detail, but all the aspects of the situation shook me to the core.”

If she could give some advice to a dermatologist in training, she said it would be this: “Never forget, you are treating your mother. And sometimes, mother knows best.”

As a Diplomate of the Board of Certification in Dermatology (BCD), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), Dr. Honeycutt says that there are a number of skills every dermatologist in training should have but which they won’t be tested on in the board certification exam. Those skills include empathy, patience, hand-eye coordination, observational and listening skills, and knowledge of accounting, billing, and finance.

If you are a dermatologist inspired by Dr. Honeycutt’s enthusiasm and would like to become certified in your specialty, contact the ABPS. Through the BCD, we offer certification that allows successful candidates to present themselves to the public as qualified medical specialists in dermatology.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine