A day in the life of a dermatologist

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Ever wondered what it would be like to work in one of the most diverse specialties in medicine? From treating and preventing skin, nail and hair disease, to helping reverse the signs of premature ageing, a specialist dermatologist is the go-to expert for all your skincare needs.

We chat to one of the principals of Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists, Dr Jacqueline Matulich, about what an average day as a dermatologist involves.

Dr Matulich specialises in adult and paediatric skincare and works in all aspects of dermatology including medical, surgical and cosmetic. She splits her working week between the Sydney Children’s Hospital, where she is a Senior Staff Specialist, and at Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists in Ultimo.

Q What does a typical day at the Sydney Children’s Hospital involve?

A typical working day at the Sydney Children’s Hospital as a Staff Specialist involves attending an outpatient clinic staffed by Registrars and attended by medical students. I oversee the clinic, seeing paediatric patients attending with their parents and teaching the Registrars and medical students in the process.

Patients are seen for a consultation and a history is taken, the patient is examined and a diagnosis is made. Treatment is prescribed and occasionally this may require admission of the patient to hospital under my name. After the clinic is completed, I perform a ward round (with attending registrars and students) of in-hospital patients and may also need to visit the emergency department or other wards to assess patients requiring a dermatological consultation as requested by other medical or surgical teams.

Q What does a typical day at Platinum Dermatology involve?

A typical working day at the Ultimo rooms involves consulting with adult and paediatric patients. The consultations will be about all manner of issues of a dermatological nature including routine skin checks, patients presenting with a changing mole, patients with acne, rosacea, rashes (including eczema), psoriasis, or drug reactions.

Q What kind of conditions do you treat?

Some patients present with rare dermatological conditions and occasionally patients will require a skin biopsy which means a sample of skin is taken under local anaesthesia and the defect repaired with a suture, and the tissue sent for histopathological analysis.

I see skin cancers including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinomas with relative frequency and will perform surgery to remove these skin cancers. Often this is done in the course of the day if the surgery is deemed urgent, otherwise a time is arranged for the patient to return in the near future for elective removal of the skin cancer.

I also perform laser treatments in the course of this day, with pre-arranged appointments for patients to have intense pulsed light or laser treatments to improve pigmentation, redness and fine lines on their face or other parts of their bodies. Patients with acne scarring and deep facial lines or raised lesions of various types on their skin will have a deeper type of treatment called ablative laser which requires preparation with a local anaesthetic, which I also perform.

I will also speak to patients regarding their test results and questions they may have about their condition or medication. In addition to this I am often on call for the Sydney Children’s Hospital and will need to take calls from my registrars about patients they have seen and may need to visit the hospital to see the patients.

Interested in a treatment?

Dr Matulich is available for a consultation at Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Contact us on (02) 8014 6500 to make an appointment.

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