Working life (allergy)
This page provides useful information about the roles and responsibilities of allergists, where they work, who they work with and what they feel about their role.
Allergy specialists are mostly based in tertiary referral centres such as major hospitals with a wide range of specialty services and teaching hospitals.
How your time is spent
A typical day for a specialty registrar involves arriving just after 8am to do essential administrative work and talk to colleagues. They may have morning and afternoon clinics for different types of cases such as drug allergy challenge clinics or adult allergy clinics.
When they do not have a second clinic, they may take part in allergy team meeting with the consultants and allergy specialist nurses to discuss interesting cases or they may do further administration, audit and teaching before finishing around 5pm.
Allergists work alongside:
- specialist nurses
- medical secretaries and administrative staff
- laboratory staff (if involved in research)
They also work closely with:
- staff from other clinical disciplines in a hospital, including respiratory medicine, dermatology, ENT and immunology
Allergy medicine may appeal to you if you think you will enjoy varied clinical work with both adult and paediatric patients and different types of clinics (eg food, drug challenge, immunotherapy). It may also appeal if you are interested in dealing with multiple organ systems as allergy can affect the lungs (asthma), nose/eyes (rhinitis), skin (eczema) and gut (eosinophilic gut problems). The increasing complexity and severity of allergic disorders, including a rise in co-morbidity (multiple expressions of allergy in the same patient), is both an attraction and a challenge. It is a rapidly evolving field as allergists seek to find out more about the influence of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors on the increase in allergic disorders.
It can also be a rewarding specialty if you have an academic interest in doing higher degree work, teaching, research and participating in allergy conferences.
Allergy medicine is a non-acute, outpatient-based specialty with clinics in normal working hours so there is little or no out-of-hours, on-call or weekend shift work.
Allergists say that they enjoy working in multidisciplinary teams (MDT) with immunologists, specialist nurses and dieticians; and having the support of a highly skilled team around them.