Taking a closer look at two rising specialties in medicine

Residency Program Insider, August 3, 2018

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As patient needs and even medicine itself continue to evolve, so do the physician specialties that are high in demand. Two rapidly growing specialties that have emerged in recent years are that of the nocturnist and of the lifestyle medicine physician.

A nocturnist fulfills largely in the same duties that a hospitalist would; however, a nocturnist practices primarily at night, thus allowing patients on-site access to a hospitalist at all times. Nocturnists also must practice independently of other specialists because they tend to be the only physicians on the night shift. Nocturnists are required to be board-certified in internal medicine, family medicine, or pediatrics and may choose to pursue Maintenance of Certification in Focused Practice of Medicine, though this is not required. Because demand for nocturnists is currently very high, often greater than the supply, they may earn 15-20% more than daytime hospitalists.

A lifestyle medicine physician focuses largely on the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases by addressing the patient’s diet, exercise, stress, and sleeping patterns. For example, a lifestyle medicine physician is just as likely to recommend a change in diet as he or she is to write a prescription. The American Board of Lifestyle Medicine has offered board certification in lifestyle medicine since late 2017, and demand to take the exam is increasing dramatically. To qualify for the exam, physicians must be board-certified in an ABMS or AOA-recognized specialty.

Other rising specialties in the medical field include that of the cancer immunologist, clinical informatician, and medical virtualist.


Association of American Medical Colleges


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