Physician-Scientists are mainly dedicated to explore new medical knowledge and techniques by doing research work on various diseases, along with other clinical activities. For example, these professionals may take blood samples of diseased persons, conduct various tests, analyze them and then come up with a drug that would cure the disease. They certainly contribute towards the development of new cures and treatment techniques of various diseases.
Like other academic physicians, Physician-Scientists can be involved in patient care, teaching, administration etc. in government as well as private institutions. However, their focus areas include disease-oriented basic science research, clinical investigation of patients, public health research and dissemination of research results in order to provide better treatments and improve health practices.
The practice of Physician-Scientists certainly requires a great deal of skills besides the clinical knowledge. The aspiring candidates need to have self-motivation, dedication to work in challenging situation, ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. More importantly they need to have a high tolerance for failure and frustration during research work.
Before enrolling in Physician-Scientist programs, student must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college with subjects including Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
However, the academic route to be a Physician Scientist begins with an MD/PhD Program, also known as the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) – which is medical school training combined with a graduate school PhD program in research methods. It takes around 7 to 8 years to complete an MD/PhD or MSTP program.
Salary and Job outlook
The job outlook for Physician-Scientists remains excellent across the USA. The income of this professionals varies according to their experience and expertise. The annual average salary of physician-scientists starts from $80,000 at the initial levels to around $200,000 at very senior levels.