How to Practice Medicine in Qatar

Which specialties are there?

When choosing which subject you want to work as a doctor later, you have to think of a candy store - the choice is huge. But what is actually behind the respective names. Here is a brief description of the various disciplines.

Specialist in general medicine (internal and general medicine) - family doctor

General medicine is a mixture of many subjects, with internal medicine in particular playing a role. General practitioners almost always work as general practitioners in private practice, who serve as the first point of contact and refer the patient to a special specialist if necessary; they are, so to speak, the pilot in the port of health care. General practitioners have a lot of patient contact. One of her main tasks is to fish out those with severe pneumonia out of twenty patients with flu-like infections. The path to becoming a general practitioner takes three years in internal medicine and then about two more years of assistantship in a family doctor's practice.

Specialist in anesthesiology (anesthetist)

Anesthesiologists wrongly refer to evil (surgeon) tongues as "the sleepyheads with the coffee cup". It is true that anesthetists take care of surgical patients from falling asleep to waking up. But, and the surgical colleagues tend to forget that, this subject also includes the additional terms intensive care medicine, emergency medicine and pain therapy, hence the name AINS. The training to become a specialist in anesthesiology takes 5 years, of which 1 year must be spent in an intensive care unit.

Specialist in anatomy

Anatomy is the study of the structure of the human body. It is an essential basic subject. As an anatomist, you don't usually treat patients, you devote yourself almost exclusively to teaching and research. Anatomy is very important in medical studies. In two of the four pre-clinical semesters, the students take an anatomy course in which they get to know the structure of humans in detail when dissecting corpses. Anatomy specialists lead these courses.

The subject is divided into macroscopic anatomy, which examines what can still be seen with the naked eye, and microscopic anatomy (histology), in which one works with microscopes and researches the fine structure of the various tissues. There are also neuroanatomy (brain and nerves) and embryology (development of the unborn child). The path to becoming a specialist in anatomy takes 4 years.

Specialist in occupational medicine (occupational physician)

Occupational doctors work almost exclusively at institutes and, as doctors working in preventive medicine, are responsible for promoting the health of the working population. In doing so, they record the effects of work on health and vice versa. It is an advisory discipline, curative activities are the exception. The further training period is 5 years.

Specialist in ophthalmology (ophthalmologist)

Ophthalmology is a so-called small surgical subject. The ophthalmologist deals with the eye and its adnexa. Functional disorders of the eyes and the optic nerve, the eyelid, the lacrimal gland, the eye muscles, the eye nerves and the eye socket (orbit) are diagnosed and treated. The training to become an ophthalmologist takes five years following the medical degree.

Specialist in biochemistry

Medical biochemistry deals with organic chemistry, e.g. carbohydrates, fats, nucleic acids, or proteins and amino acids and their metabolism, as well as diseases that can be traced back to them, e.g. the famous "gout". But there are also independent courses in biochemistry (diploma course, bachelor course). In addition to anatomy and physiology, the subject is of particular importance at the beginning of medical studies. The further training period is 4 years. Very few physicians choose this area and it is very rare that a specialist in biochemistry settles down. The work mainly takes place in the laboratory.

Specialist in surgery

It is a large area that is divided into many individual subjects:

  • General surgery
  • Vascular surgery
  • Hand surgery
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Orthopedics and trauma surgery - recently merged. Orthopedics means “straight child” - more mechanical diseases of the musculoskeletal system are treated, so to speak
  • Plastic and aesthetic surgery
  • Thoracic surgery (chest)
  • Visceral surgery (upper and lower abdomen)

The candidate must first complete basic training for 24 months and then specialize in a certain area of ​​surgery for four years. Then he calls himself a specialist in pediatric surgery, for example. During the training period, the resident doctor must carry out an extensive catalog of operations and provide evidence of this. Endoscopic interventions, such as thoracoscopic metastasis surgery or laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder), have recently become more and more important.

However, surgeons do not stand in the operating room all day and operate. You also have a lot of patient contact in the outpatient department and on the ward and, for example, monitor the patients in the postoperative course.

Specialist in gynecology and obstetrics (gynecologist)

It is about the body and gender specific diseases of women. Gynecologists work closely with the general practitioner. Her main focus is on the female sexual organs, the hormonal balance (endocrinology), its effects on contraception and pregnancy. In addition, gynecologists operate on tumors of the breast and uterus, make caesarean sections and are called at birth if the skills of a midwife are exceeded.

The further training period is five years. The gynecologist has 3 options for specialization:

  • the focus on gynecological endocrinology and reproductive medicine (he then takes care of fertilization treatments, for example)
  • Focus on gynecological oncology (focus on tumor diseases in women, e.g. operations, chemotherapy, palliative care)
  • Focus on special obstetrics and perinatal medicine (especially responsible for high-risk pregnancies)

The main competencies are acquired in 3 years following the specialist training.

Specialist in ear, nose and throat medicine

The ENT specialist takes care of everything relating to the throat, nose and ears. As in ophthalmology, it is a so-called small surgical subject, but conservative (non-surgical) treatments are also carried out. For example, the ENT doctor treats tumors, operates on eardrum operations and provides patients with cochlear implants (special hearing aids). There is close cooperation with doctors in paediatrics, pediatric surgery, neurology, orthopedics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, dermatology and allergology and internal medicine.

Like surgery, the training period is divided into a basic training period of 2 years and a subsequent specialization. Either you become a specialist in ear, nose and throat medicine or a specialist in speech, voice and children's hearing disorders.

Specialist in skin and venereal diseases (dermatologist and venereologist)

The dermatologist and venereologist deals with the skin and its diseases. Examples of skin diseases that dermatologists treat surgically and conservatively are neurodermatitis, psoriasis, benign and malignant tumors, infectious diseases and burns. But varicose veins and even sexually transmitted diseases (cooperation with gynecologists) are recognized and treated. In this area you can also find allergology - the entire spectrum of allergies. Often, however, general practitioners also train to become allergists. The further training to become a dermatologist takes a total of 5 years.

Specialist in human genetics

The field of human genetics encompasses the detection and treatment of genetic diseases including genetic counseling for patients and their families, so everything revolves around the genetic make-up, the human DNA. Parentage reports are also prepared by specialists in human genetics. Due to the advisory activity, a geneticist often has patient contact.

Specialist in hygiene and environmental medicine.

The specialist in hygiene and environmental medicine primarily has an advisory role, advising, among other things, institutions and hospitals, but also for the general population. The hygiene regulations in clinics are based, for example, on recommendations from hygienists. Environmental medicine includes the assessment of the extent to which environmental factors and pollutants influence human health. The further training to become a specialist in hygiene and environmental medicine lasts 5 years.

Specialist in internal medicine (internist)

As with surgery (the opposite, so to speak), internal medicine is a large and far-reaching subject in which, however, no surgery is performed. Internists already carry out invasive interventions, such as cardiac catheterization or gastrointestinal mirroring, but what goes beyond that is up to the surgeon. Internal medicine deals mainly with the functional disorders of organs such as the heart, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, thyroid and liver.
General medicine and general internal medicine used to be separate. Now both are merged (see above). If you don't want to specialize as a general practitioner, after three years of internal medicine you choose a focus of internal medicine for another three years:

  • Angiology - vascular diseases
  • Endocrinology and Diabetology - Hormones and Diabetes
  • Gastroenterology - gastrointestinal tract, everything that has to do with digestion
  • Hematology and Oncology - diseases of blood cells and tumors
  • Cardiology - heart and circulation
  • Nephrology - the kidneys plus urinary tract, but separate from urology
  • Pneumology - the lungs, the respiratory system
  • Rheumatology - collective term for diseases of the connective and supporting tissue

Specialist in pediatric medicine (pediatrics)

Pediatrics is medicine for children. The transitions to adult medicine are fluid. There are no exact (age) limits as to when the pediatrician is no longer available. An approximate border zone is from / after puberty. The subject is very diverse. You can specialize in individual internal issues, become a general pediatrician or even a pediatric surgeon. There is also child neurology (neuropediatrics - neurology for children) and neonatology, a subject in which newborns are treated. The focus on pediatric hematology and oncology deals with tumor and blood diseases in childhood, the doctors for pediatric cardiology with typical, mostly congenital heart diseases. The further training to become a pediatrician takes five years, the specialization in one focus lasts one year and can be completed during the regular specialist training.

Specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy

Child and adolescent psychiatry is a separate area that deals with psychiatric illnesses in children and adolescents (see Psychiatry).

Specialist in laboratory medicine (clinical chemistry)

Laboratory medicine is in good hands for anyone who is not interested in patient contact. During the five-year training period, only one year of work in patient care is required. The main work takes place in the laboratory.

The laboratory doctor examines body fluids (blood, liquor) and their morphological components, as well as excretion (urine, stool) and secretion products (sweat) for their composition. Not only physical and chemical methods are used, but also, for example, microbiological, immunochemical and molecular biological methods.

Specialist in microbiology, virology and infection epidemiology

Laboratory diagnostics of bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms, etc. - the pathogens are the focus. As a rule, there is no patient contact. If a patient has an infection, an attempt is made to take a blood sample, a stool sample or a saliva smear or other to determine the right treatment, depending on the case. The microbiologist, for example, then grows the pathogen in special cultures to determine which one it is exactly. Education and support in the prevention and hospital treatment of infectious diseases are also part of the doctor's duties after five years of further training.

Specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery

This area has a peculiarity: you have to study human medicine as well as dentistry. There is a lot of overlap in both courses, so that you only have to complete parts of one course. However, it is strongly recommended to study human medicine first and then dentistry, because more credit is given in this way. The training itself then takes another 5 years. (You can, however, also take the ENT rail).
For example, congenital malformations of the face, but especially sports accidents and tumors, are operated on and treated conservatively. Implantology and prosthetic care are also part of the wide range of tasks performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. There is close cooperation with trauma surgeons, dermatologists and ENT specialists.

Neurosurgery specialist

Neurosurgery is a very special type of surgery that deals with operations on the central nervous system including vessels and sheaths, and with operations on the peripheral and vegetative nervous system. Bleeding, injuries, inflammation, tumors and malformations are treated. The work is very delicate and is always a challenge for doctors.

There is close cooperation with neurologists, intensive care physicians and surgeons - e.g. hand surgeons. The further training period is 6 years.

Specialist in neurology

The specialist in neurology also deals with diseases that affect the central and peripheral nervous system during and after his 5-year training. In contrast to neurosurgery, however, no operations are performed in this subject. In the past, neurology and psychiatry belonged together, now the subjects are separate, whereby one observes the specialist training in the other area. During his training, the neurologist learns numerous examination procedures such as electorencephalogram (EEG), acoustic and visual evoked potentials, electromyography, electroneurography, neuropsychological test procedures and many more.

Specialist in nuclear medicine

The nuclear medicine specialist can work both diagnostically and therapeutically. In nuclear medicine, special "x-rays" are made after a radioactive drug has been administered to the patient. This can then accumulate, for example, in certain organs such as the thyroid gland or in tumor tissue, which allows conclusions to be drawn about the function or diseases of the organ. The application of radioactive drugs can not only be used for diagnostics, but also for the treatment of diseases if the right choice is made, whereby this option is often used in the case of tumor diseases, for example of the thyroid gland. The training lasts 5 years.

Public Health Specialist

The specialist in public health observes, assesses and safeguards the health concerns of the population and advises those responsible for public tasks. Public health practitioners oversee health and make suggestions on how to prevent and control disease. Doctors must be familiar with epidemiology and statistics, among other things, and prepare official medical reports. The risk analysis, assessment, communication and management of infectious diseases and environmental health burdens and damages are of great importance. The training lasts five years, three of which must take place in immediate patient care.

Specialist in pathology (pathologist)

The layman often thinks of a pathologist as a doctor who cuts open corpses all day looking for the causes of death. In fact, the autopsy is one of the tasks of the pathologist, but the doctor spends most of the time in his office over the microscope, the voice recorder in hand. So he has a lot more to do with the living than with the dead person, even if he has no actual patient contact. Under the microscope, the pathology department examines the tissue sections stained differently by the MTAs and uses this to diagnose tumors or inflammations, for example. Depending on requirements, he can have special understaining and treatments of the preparation made (immunohistochemistry, PCR ...). At the beginning there is a 2-year basic training followed by 4 more years in pathology, of which one year is recognized in immediate patient care.

If you want to become a specialist in neuropathology, you also have to complete 2 years of basic training. This is followed by 4 years in neuropathology. 1 year in a subject in neurology / psychiatry is recognized.

Specialist in pharmacology (and toxicology)

Pharmacology is the study of medicines. Doctors mainly work in research and teaching and usually have no patient contact. The question is i.a.How drugs work, e.g. there are specific reasons why they are swallowed, injected or administered rectally, what side effects can occur, etc. Toxicology is the study of poisons, including drugs above a certain dose. Anyone who chooses this subject must expect to come into contact with animal experiments.

2 years of basic training are followed by 36 months of further training to become a specialist in pharmacology and toxicology or just in pharmacology.

Specialist in physical and rehabilitation medicine

A specialist in this field must have extensive knowledge of many other subjects. Accordingly, he completes a total of 1 of his 5 years of specialist training in one of the operative subjects (e.g. surgery, gynecology or urology) and 1 year in a non-operative subject such as internal medicine or neurology.

The specialist in physical and rehabilitative medicine learns during further training, among other things, knowledge and experience in rehabilitative procedures such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and phototherapy, and finally knows how to provide the relevant indications.

All in all, one can say that rehabilitation physicians endeavor to restore patients to work again in the narrower sense after a serious illness or a major operation, and in the broader sense to restore them to the extent that they can lead a largely normal life. Secondary prevention plays a special role here, i.e. avoiding a relapse.

Specialist in physiology

Physiology is the study of the processes in the human body, i.e. how everything works, of the organs, breathing, the senses - human physics. It is one of the three major subjects at the beginning of medical studies, taught by specialists in physiology. Like anatomy and biochemistry, this subject is a subject without patient contact. The further training period is only 4 years. In physiology, too, you may have to be prepared to carry out animal experiments.

Specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy

Psychiatrists treat patients who are mentally ill. Such mental illnesses can have a wide variety of causes (genetic, physical, development), which the doctor must determine before therapy in order to determine the therapy and to rule out any serious physical illnesses that may be present. This usually takes place in the context of diagnostic discussions and consultations with neurologists and internists. The form of therapy is most likely to be decided based on the symptoms or the psychiatric clinical picture.

It is important not to confuse the specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy with psychologists. Psychology is a separate course of study, in psychiatry you can continue your education after studying medicine in 5 years, whereby you have to sit in for 1 year in neurology. In contrast to a psychologist, a psychiatrist can prescribe medication and examine the patient, which is probably the biggest difference.

Specialist in psychosomatic medicine

Psychosomatics is related to psychology and psychiatry. The specialist in psychosomatic medicine deals with physical illnesses that have a psychological cause (physical-emotional interaction) - for example, stress can "hit the stomach", pain is often psychological and even in Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease a psychosomatic component is discussed. Such physical illnesses are often amenable to psychotherapy. Of the five-year training, one year is completed in psychiatry and psychotherapy and one year in internal and general medicine.

Radiology specialist

The training to become a radiologist takes 5 years after the degree, with a focus on pediatric radiology or neuroradiology. The further training is then extended for a further three years. The radiologists spend most of their working time in front of the fluorescent screen (now also a computer) on which they look at the images of the patients. These are not only conventional X-ray images of the lungs, for example, but also computer tomography and magnetic resonance tomography images. Interventional procedures are also carried out by the radiologist, for example angiographies or the insertion of implants through the skin (percutaneous). It cannot be said that the radiologists only come into contact with patients when they are informing the patient or that they do not come into contact at all. Until recently, radiologists were also referred to as specialists in diagnostic radiology, in contrast to radiation therapists who work as a curative (see below).

Specialist in forensic medicine

There is a relatively great similarity to pathology. However, there is the difference that forensic doctors are active in criminal cases. One task is of course the classic autopsy with a subsequent microscopic assessment to determine the cause of death and the course of events. But also the securing, investigation and evaluation of evidence, also at the genetic level, is one of the areas of responsibility. By the way, the forensic doctors do not only deal with corpses, but also examine living victims of violent crimes (for example in cases of child abuse). The training lasts 5 years.

Radiation Therapy Specialist

Radiation therapy is a branch of radiology, although it is not about the diagnostic use of radiation. Rather, the rays are used to act against benign and above all malignant tumors. Radiation therapy can be used either alone or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.

It is not enough to simply "bang" rays on a tumor; this has to be carefully planned so that, for example, the tumor is destroyed earlier than the surrounding healthy tissue. The planning is the responsibility of the radiation therapy specialist, who of course also has plenty of patient contact. There are even wards for radiation therapy, mostly together with palliative care wards. Most radiation treatments, however, take place on an outpatient basis.

You have to plan 5 years for further training, of which 1 year radiology is recognized.

Specialist in transfusion medicine

One of the tasks of the transfusion doctor is the selection and medical care of blood donors. The manufacture, testing and further development of blood preparations is also his job. The transfusion specialist is also responsible for the measures taken on the patient himself. In the event of a transfusion incident, a specialist in transfusion medicine must take emergency measures at some point. The training even includes knowledge of how to organize the blood supply in the event of a disaster. The further training period is 5 years.

Medical specialist for Urology

The urologist deals with the diseases of the urogenital tract, i.e. with the urinary tract, the urinary bladder (in men and women), as well as the prostate, penis and testicles. There is a close relationship with nephrology (kidneys). Like ENT and ophthalmology, urology is a so-called minor surgical discipline that is mistakenly considered to be for male patients only. But not a small proportion of the patients are female.

Tumors such as prostate and bladder cancer, malformations, functional disorders such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction and injuries to the urogenital tract are treated in urology.

Additional training

After specialist training, there are additional qualifications that a doctor can acquire in order to practice in it. Here is a small selection:


Study of the needles in the skin as part of Far Eastern medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM). Very thin needles are pricked into defined points and areas on the body surface, which have an effect on different body functions and organs depending on their location. Acupuncture is currently only reimbursed by the health insurance company for pain patients, but some patients are also willing to pay the costs themselves, for example for smoking cessation. The further training does not require any further training time in the actual sense, but requires attending courses, seminars and completing internships.


Andrologists deal exclusively with the male sex, with fertility disorders and male contraception, erectile dysfunction and congenital diseases such as primary hypogonadism. The prerequisite for acquiring the designation is specialist certification for dermatology or urology or certification as a specialist in endocrinology and diabetology.

Industrial medicine

The specialist training in an area of ​​immediate patient care is followed by a 3-year training course to become a company doctor, the content of which is an integral part of the training to become a specialist in occupational medicine. Of the 3 years, the doctor spends 1 year in internal and general medicine and 2 years in industrial and occupational medicine. In addition to specialist medical expertise, students learn to recognize the interactions between work and health and, if necessary, treat them. This includes, for example, occupational diseases and accidents at work as well as health advice including vaccinations. Even if occupational medicine is seen as a subject in which there is not much to do and in which one leaves work on time, it is important to consider before deciding on this further training that there can also be dramatic situations, such as accidents at work which the company physician may have to provide emergency care.


Geriatricians have specialized in an 18-month training period following their specialist in treating physical and mental illnesses in advanced age and enabling older people to lead an independent life again as far as possible. The elderly are often considered to be problem patients, as they are not infrequently multimorbid (i.e. they have a large number of diseases at the same time, e.g. diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia and heart failure). The geriatricians ensure that these patients still receive the best possible treatment, even if it is often difficult to find the right treatments and medications without interactions.

Palliative medicine

The job of the palliative care practitioner is to make terminally ill patients as comfortable as possible for the rest of their lives. This includes, for example, treating pain and other symptoms of the underlying disease as well as drug-induced symptoms (think of the side effects of chemotherapy). The most important task, however, is to be with the patient and to make them feel that they have not been given up. Palliative therapy can increase the quality of life and, under certain circumstances, even life expectancy, but when treating symptoms one also accepts that the expected life span will be shortened if, for example, the patient is in unbearable pain. However, palliative medicine must be strictly differentiated from active euthanasia, in which the patient is deliberately killed in order to reduce his or her suffering - active euthanasia is prohibited in Germany. Palliative medicine is the additional training that involves the most and most intensive patient contact. The advanced training following the specialist training consists of courses and seminars that can partially replace the 12-month advanced training.

sports medicine

The prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation of sports damage and sports injuries are the tasks of sports medicine. The effects of sport and lack of exercise on the healthy and the sick are examined. The training content not only includes top-class sport and the problem of doping, but also the psychological dimensions of sport, nutritional basics and more. The further training period is 12 months, some of which can be replaced by 240 hours of course. This is followed by 120 hours of sports medicine work under the supervision of a training officer. Specialist certification is also a prerequisite in sports medicine.

Tropical medicine

Tropical medicine also complements specialist training. Tropical medicine specialists deal with diseases, especially infectious diseases, that can occur under tropical and subtropical conditions, such as malaria or amoebic dysentery. In particular, prevention in the context of globalization plays a role, for example advising visitors to tropical countries. If tropical diseases are imported, they are treated by tropical medicine. Incidentally, the tropical medicine specialist is occasionally called in for occupational medicine when it comes to the aptitude test before a work-related stay abroad. The duration of further training is 24 months: 1 year must be completed in a tropical medicine facility and 1 year in a patient care facility in the tropics or subtropics. However, proof of 3 months of further training must also be provided.

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