What they do
Haematologists specialise in diseases affecting the blood. They are concerned with any abnormality of the blood, including blood cells and coagulation. Some diseases of the blood include anaemia, leukaemia, lymphoma, polycythaemia and haemophilia.
Haematologists usually begin their examinations by looking at a person's nails, hands, skin, hair, eyes and mouth. They would also examine lymph nodes and order any necessary blood tests.
Haematologists work within specialist departments in hospitals - a great deal of their work is laboratory-based. Haematology services must be available at all times and as such haematologists can work unsocial hours.
Some haematologists work directly with patients in a clinical role and as such there are opportunities to work in private practice and have more regular working conditions.
Tools and technologies
Although automated analysers exist for the bulk of the more routine work in this field, specialised laboratory technqiques are still required in the areas of blood transfusion, coagulation and thrombotic disorders, haemoglobinopathies and white cell immunophenotyping.
Haematologists experience ongoing innovative clinical and laboratory developments, including rapid advances in molecular and cell biology. Not only do these developments mean the use of new tools and technologies, it also provides opportunities for ongoing research.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a clinical haematologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in clinical haematology.
To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
To then specialise in clinical haematology, doctors can apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.
To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency).
Required registration and licensing
To work as a clinical haematologist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.