Training in wilderness medicine prepares a doctor to specialize in many parts. It could be treating mountaineers, serving as directors of national parks, providing medical training and oversight for search and rescue organizations, providing medical care on expeditions or at remote scientific base camps.
A wilderness medicine doctor or medical specialist must know medical problems that arise in remote and extreme conditions. They must also know how to effectively manage these problems outside of the hospital and with little or no support.
Wilderness medicine includes, but is not limited to, trauma and emergency medicine, sports medicine, rescue and everything, diving and hyperbaric medicine, disaster medicine, tropical and travel medicine, expedition medicine, high-altitude/mountaineering medicine, envenomation, survival medicine, tactical medicine, space medicine.
Currently, the emergency medicine community is recognizing wilderness medicine as an important academic field of study. Medical trainees are attracted by the plenitude of career opportunities and the desire to contribute meaningful research to a rapidly growing field.
Doctors who aspire to a life outside of the hospital, have a predisposition for adventure and enjoy adrenaline-pumping experiences should consider specializing in wilderness medicine. Doctors trained in wilderness medicine can extend their skills to ski clinics, marathons, and ultramarathons, as well as search and rescue efforts.
Wilderness medicine doctors are well prepared to provide care after natural disasters, support scientific research by providing care to researchers collecting data in extreme environments. Others contribute to the medical field through research on a variety of issues affecting sports and health, environment, and climate change.
Some doctors can devote the entirety of their careers to wilderness medicine, while others work full time in other medical fields but work in wilderness medicine activities in their free time.