Physician

JEFF ANDERSON, MD PHD

Director of Functional Neuroimaging University of Utah Department of Neuroradiology BS Math BYU

“Most people who train in mathematics do not end up as academic mathematicians, although many do end up in academics. Mathematics is possibly the ideal training for any career in science, medicine, law, or business. It teaches rigorous thought, problem solving, and creativity.”

“I have an amazing job where I study the brain using functional MRI half time, and spend half time in clinical practice reviewing neuro-radiological exams such as MRI’s and CT’s. Most of the research projects I’m involved in use some type of analysis that is facilitated by mathematical training. I write my own data analysis software, which gives me big advantages in pursuing cutting edge theories. It’s a competitive world in academics as in most fields, and solid mathematical training gives you the ability to compete in the intellectual high country where fewer investigators feel comfortable, and where the most sophisticated and beautiful ideas tend to live.”

Physicians, or doctors, diagnose illnesses and prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. Physicians examine patients, obtain medical histories, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive health care. Earnings of physicians and surgeons are among the highest of any occupation, and depend on area of specialty and how long the individual has been a physician.


Low End Salary:   $115,000/yr
Median Salary:   $202,932/yr
High End Salary:   $235,000/yr


Education:

Becoming a doctor requires more training than most other jobs. It usually takes at least 11 years to become a doctor: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 3 years working in a hospital. To become a doctor, you should study mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and English. Do you love mathematics, but want to pursue a career as a doctor? "Professional graduate schools in business, law, and medicine think mathematics is a great major because it develops analytical skills and the ability to work in a problem solving environment. And results on admission tests for graduate and professional schools show that students majoring in mathematics receive substantially higher scores than most other majors." William Allard & Clark Bray Duke University, Mathematics Department

Math Required:

College Algebra Trigonometry Calculus I Calculus II (useful) Linear Algebra (useful Statistics and Probability Each med school has their own math requirements. If you're considering med school, see what your top choice requires.

When Math is Used:

Doctors use math to write prescriptions for patients, to determine how much medication to distribute to patients based on weight, to determine Body Mass Index (BMI), and to interpret CAT scans. Physicians use math in every day practice. For example, they use statistics and probability to interpret tests results. When a patient is treated for an illness, the probability is used to determine which type of treatment to use, if any. “Evidence-based medicine, the use of statistical models to guide diagnoses and treatment, is already changing how doctors practice.” - Ian Ayres

Potential Employers:

Rural and low-income areas offer significant job prospects to physicians. Jobs are becoming increasingly available for physicians specializing in health issues relating to the baby boomer generation. The number of jobs for physicians is expected to increase significantly as technological advances allow doctors to treat more health problems. Doctors have a wide range of possible employers including private practices, hospitals, government agencies, and insurance companies.

Facts:

Physicians can specialize in over 60 different fields. For example, psychiatrists are mental health physicians and pediatricians care for infants, children, and teenagers. Career satisfaction among doctors varies depending on their specialty and practice settings. Dermatologists are the most satisfied (64% satisfaction rate) with their career, while plastic surgeons are least satisfied (41%). On average, doctors spend 30-40 hours per week seeing patients.

Citations:

  • http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos074.htm
  • http://www.bls.gov/k12/help06.htm
  • http://www.math.cornell.edu/Courses/FSM/biology.html
  • http://gradschool.about.com/od/medicalschool/f/docjobs.htm
  • http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2012/public
  • http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/beyond/articles/medicine/med1.html

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