General practitioners are medical doctors who have a broad field of medical issues that they treat. They are also known as family doctors. They are usually the doctor a person goes to when they have a medical problem that is not an emergency. As a result they usually have many patients and they provide very versatile service.
General practitioners are able to treat a wide range of medical issues from the flu or common cold to sexually transmitted diseases to less common ailments such as Lyme Disease. They are also able to treat relatively small injuries like broken fingers, cuts and bruises. General practitioners also run routine checkups on their clients/patients. When a general practitioner has a patient with an illness or injury that they either cannot treat or are limited in treating, they refer the patient to a specialist.
General practitioners usually work in a private practice offices, in clinics or hospitals. They may run their own practice or they may be included in partnerships with other doctors. Their support staff is composed of nurses and office administration assistants. General practitioners' tools of use include stethoscopes, tongue depressors, blood pressure cuffs and various other pieces of medical equipment.
General practitioners usually work between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Educational requirements for becoming a General Practitioner are very demanding: They must go through 11 to 16 years of school and training before becoming a practicing doctor. This is longer than doctors who specialize in one medical field because they must know about all forms of injury and illness. They must obtain a bachelor's degree first, complete four years of medical school, and then three to eight years in a residency. They must also pass the medical licensing exams in order to practice in their field.
General Practitioner Tasks
- Order tests and provide treatments as appropriate.
- Document health status and plans, including progress and discharge notes and prescriptions.
- Examine, diagnose, and perform preventative and interventional care for clinic patients.
- Respond to emergencies and be on call for urgent care.