The specialty began in late 19th century Germany and blended scientific laboratory principles with clinical medicine. A number of early 20th century American doctors studied medicine in Germany, eventually bringing this specialty to the United States. Internists often practice as primary care physicians, but they have more authority than a general practitioner. General practitioners often consult a general internal medicine doctor when they have a particularly challenging case.
What is an Internal Medicine Doctor?
An internal medicine doctor is also known as the “doctor’s doctor.” This physician is a specialist trained in the diagnosis, management, and prevention of diseases affecting adults.
They deal with all aspects of the human body including primary care and basic healthcare management, much like a family physician; however, internal medicine does not typically handle pediatrics or obstetrics. In addition, internal medicine requires more in-depth training and patient care in hospital settings.
A general internal medicine doctor is especially helpful when it comes to chronic illnesses or multiple disorders that manifest themselves at the same time.
Internists can be either an independent practitioner, be a member of a physician’s group, or work in a hospital, clinic, or medical office.
Training and Education Requirements
Internists must earn a four-year bachelor’s degree and a four-year medical school degree. Then, they need to undergo several years of graduate medical education (GME). This includes a one-year internship and three years of an in-house residency. Once their education is completed, they must obtain medical certification and pass their licensing exams and board certification exams – both written and oral.
What does an internal medical doctor treat?
An internist can function as a primary care physician, but they can continue in the patient’s care if he or she is admitted into a hospital, nursing home, or intensive care unit. If a patient is seeking treatment in a clinical setting, internists can perform physical exams as well as perform the duties of a nutritionist. An internal medicine doctor can also function as a specialist consultant make hospital rounds.
Below are just some of the many conditions an internal medicine doctor treats:
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Sleep Apnea
• Antibiotic Resistance
Does a General Internal Medicine Doctor perform surgery?
Typically, Internists do not perform surgery. They do, however, participate in the diagnosis, treatment, and after-care of patients with conditions that may require surgical intervention.
Many internists choose to specialize in a particular subcategory of internal medicine after completing medical school. It’s called subspecialty training or a fellowship, and potential internists fulfill between one to three years beyond the standard three-year general internal medicine residency.
• Adolescent medicine
• Sports medicine
• Infectious disease
• Allergy and immunology – the diagnosis and treatment of allergies