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Dr. Mona Abdel Halim's Blog

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Passion, Devotion and Dermatopathology


Dr. Mona Abdel-Halim

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Devotion and dedication are keys of success in anything in life, and for you to be devoted and dedicated to something, you should first love this thing. So I believe that no success is achieved without devotion and no devotion is applicable without love. In my opinion this applies so much to work, job and career. I believe in the saying: "lucky this man, whose job is his hobby!!"

What does this have to do with dermatopathology??? It has everything to do with it, actually! Dermatopathology is a difficult branch. You have to spend hours of reading and hours of examining piles of slides and hours of thinking in difficult cases. You will need to pay a lot for courses to attend and experts to meet. Moreover, if you are not basically a dermatologist, I bet you will have to spend some time in dermatology departments also to develop a good clinical sense that will definitely help you in your career.

You will not be able to do all of this except if you have a real passion for dermatopathology, a passion that will motivate you to devote yourself to it. If you look around you for those eminent dermatopathologists, you will find them either pathologists who chose early in their carrier to specialize in dermatopathology and are not doing any other pathology specialty any more or dermatologists who chose to specialize in dermatopathology and are no longer keen about all other aspects in dermatology even if they are more rewarding than dermatopathology.

I used to have an old passion with pathology in the Medical school. After I finished my dermatology residency program and my MD in Dermatology, I decided to specialize in dermatopathology. This was the only subspecialty in Dermatology that fascinated me, I used to hate laser and cosmetology which is attracting all young dermatologists nowadays!!! I believe that dermatologists' main job should be diagnosing and treating skin diseases not making people appear younger!!!! In order to excel in dermatopathology, which is my passion, I gradually realized that I should be completely devoted to it. I can't divide my time between reading and upgrading my level in dermatopathology and at the same time keeping myself updated with the last trends in treatment of different skin diseases. So in the beginning of 2010 I took a very important decision in my life. I quitted working as a clinical dermatologist!! In the Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, I do the dermatopathology and diagnose skin biopsies taken in the department. I see and examine all cases that need clinical correlation keeping my clinical sense high, but I do not bother myself with the treatment. This is the job of others!! I am also involved with developing dermatopathology teaching programs for Masters and MD students and for residents and junior members interested in dermatopathology. In my private practice I work only as a dermatopathologist, either I receive already taken biopsies from dermatologists or they send me the patients to examine and take the biopsies myself. My job with the patient ends by writing him the report and sending him back to his clinician. I feel so satisfied with this, I am devoted to my passion, I am concentrating on it and I feel so lucky that my job now is really my hobby!!!
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Mark A. Hurt MD

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You have discovered the "why" of practicing dermatopathology. Kudos to you, Dr Halim!
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