Exploring this Job
One good way to learn more about health care careers is to volunteer at a local hospital, clinic, or nursing home. This will allow you to see what it's like to work around other health care professionals and patients and possibly determine exactly where your interests lie. As in any career, reading as much as possible about the profession (such as The Hematologist, a newsletter published by the American Society of Hematology, http://www.hematology.org/Thehematologist), talking with a career counselor, and interviewing those working in the field are other important ways to explore your interest.
Some hematologists are medical scientists who do blood-related research but do not treat patients. Others are physicians who have chosen to specialize in blood diseases and their treatment. Some physicians in hematology work with patients, while others are more research oriented and work primarily in research laboratories.
The duties of a hematologist depend on whether the hematologist is a research scientist or a medical doctor. In the case of a doctor, it also depends on whether he or she is primarily involved in research or in patient treatment. As a subspecialty of internal medicine, hematology is also closely connected with oncology, the internal medicine subspecialty dealing with tumors. Hematology and oncology are often combined into a single department in medical schools. Doctors who specialize in pediatric hematology-oncology work exclusively with children who have blood disorders and/or cancer.
Hematologists who work in academic research settings mainly conduct research, which also includes supervising the lab and the people who work in it, writing grant proposals to request federal money to fund the lab, as well as other responsibilities, such as lecturing and teaching.