A dermatologist is a qualified medical specialist. Dermatologists are initially trained as doctors, undertaking years of university study to gain their medical degrees. This is followed by several years of full-time practice and training in a teaching hospital as a junior hospital doctor. Application can then be made to enter a four-year training program in dermatology. Advanced surgical training is included in the program. Through this additional training, they have obtained postgraduate qualifications to specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin disease and skin cancers, this includes skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is an important barrier against infections and injury, and reflects the health of the body. A general practitioner is usually the first port of call when someone has a skin complaint. The GP may require assistance with a diagnosis or assistance with therapy, and referral is made to a dermatologist.
There are more than 3000 diseases of the skin. Given our heritage and climate in Australia, Australian dermatologists spend a significant amount of their time treating diseases caused by sun exposure. Other common conditions seen are acne, eczema, skin infections, psoriasis, occupational dermatitis, hair and nail disorders, surveillance of moles and cosmetic problems of the skin.
Dermatology is a huge field, and because skin is an organ, just like the heart, it requires specialized care. A dermatology nurse is a nurse trained to provide nursing care to dermatology patients. They help patients through the treatment of wounds, injuries, and diseases of the skin. They also perform skin cancer treatments. They assist at surgical procedures, and may perform cosmetic procedures, such as botox injections, chemical peels, and laser therapy.
As well as providing medical care for patients who are being treated for various skin disorders, a dermatology nurse will educate patients. They will educate on how to recognize symptoms of serious disease, such as skin cancer or leg ulcers, and how to protect themselves or manage the condition. They also provide detailed instructions for post-operative or post-procedural care.
Dermatology nurses often work in private practice with a Dermatologist. Thay can also be found in hospital dermatology clinics and in research programs.
A Dermal Therapist is a professional who with a university degree in dermal therapies, providing them with an advanced understanding of the skin. They have a working knowledge and ability to apply technologies for cosmetic improvement and treatment of a variety of skin conditions.
Dermal therapists work alongside aesthetic and dermatologists and dermatology nurses. They are involved in the application and monitoring of a variety of treatments and procedural outcomes, particularly cosmetic procedures, such as laser therapies and chemical peels.