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General Physician

What is General Physician?

A physician is a general term for a doctor who has earned a medical degree. Physicians work to maintain, promote, and restore health by studying, diagnosing, and treating injuries and diseases.

Physicians generally have six core skills:

  • Patient care. Physicians have to provide compassionate, appropriate, and effective care to promote health and treat health problems in their patients.
  • Medical knowledge. Physicians must be experts in established and new biomedical, clinical, and cognate sciences and how to apply this knowledge to patient care.
  • Practice-based learning and improvement. Physicians must always investigate and evaluate their own care and look for ways to improve.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills. Physicians must be able to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other health professionals.
  • Professionalism. A commitment to professionalism includes carrying out professional responsibilities, sticking to ethical principles, and being sensitive to a diverse patient population.
  • Systems-based practice. Physicians must be aware of and responsive to the larger context and system of health care. They must also be able to find and use resources to provide the best care possible.

What Does a General Physician Do?

Physicians diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses. Other responsibilities include:

  • Giving advice on diet, hygiene, and preventative care
  • Examining patients
  • Prescribing medications
  • Ordering, giving, and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Taking and keeping medical histories

There are generally two types of physicians: medical doctors (MD) and doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO). They use the same methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, but DOs also focus on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventative medicine, and holistic patient care.

Some specific types of physicians include:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Family and general physicians
  • Internists
  • Pediatricians
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs)
  • Psychiatrists
  • Surgeons