Have you ever heard of an internal medicine doctor and wondered what their job description is? If you have, we believe you’ve given their salary & subspecialties great thought. There’s no need to think too far since we’ve outlined all you need to know about an internal medicine doctor including their training in case you have plans to become one.
Over and above that, our comparison of internal medicine vs family practice gives you a good idea of which one is suitable for you to ensure you get the best medical care when you need it. And lest we forget, you can find a doctor of this nature near you whether you’re in Dubai, Dallas, Oregon, Cleveland, Chicago, Birmingham, Brooklyn, Canada, etc. You only need to follow the easy steps we’ve outlined. Ready? Let’s begin.
What is Internal Medicine?
Internal medicine is a field of medicine that is tailored to adults. Doctors in this field are able to treat common and complex illnesses. These doctors may also treat heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and other long term chronic illnesses. What’s more, internists as they are called, examine how the body systems function to help them detect a problem.
Further, internists are able to manage patients that have multi-system disease processes. They also take care of hospitalized patients and those rushed in from the ambulance. On the other hand, internists have to carry out a rigorous investigation to ascertain what’s wrong with a patient given that these patients may be seriously ill. Likewise, doctors may have subspecialty interests centered on the diseases that plague the organs of the body.
Why is it Called Internal Medicine?
Internal medicine makes reference to the fact that inner diseases are evident in their outward impacts. The term internal medicine was coined around the 1800s and it comes from the German term Innere Medizin. At the time, German doctors merged the knowledge from the study of bacteria, body functions, the study of disease, etc. into their treatment plans. An understanding of these studies enabled them to treat different diseases in people.
Difference Between an Internist and an Intern?
Did you know that there are clear differences between an internist and an intern? Because there are. Here’s what it looks like: Internists specialize in the field of internal medicine. An individual in this field has obtained a license and board of certification. Therefore, an internal medicine doctor is called an internist or general internal medicine specialists. On the contrary, interns are individuals that have gone through medical school but are still being trained.
Difference Between Internist and Family Doctor
There are differences between an internist and family doctor since their roles differ. The inability to differentiate between both comes from the fact that majorly adults are overseen by their family doctor. On the contrary, a pediatrician is specifically called to treat children and not the internist this time around.
Accordingly, Internal medicine doctor treats just adults and there may be cases where these doctors are also family doctors. Needless to say, doctors that specialize in this space only treat adults and not kids.
Diseases Treated by Internal Medicine Doctors
Some diseases and conditions treated by the internal medicine doctor include diabetes, sinus infections, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and allergies. Much more, internists in certain hospitals may offer services including immunization, stress test, echocardiograms, Holter monitoring, etc.
Role of Internal Medicine Physicians
Have you ever wondered what the internal medicine doctor’s job description is? Here’s an outline. You’ll also get to know what makes a good internal medicine doctor. The role of internal medicine doctors include the following:
Doctors that have been trained to tackle diseases that are caused by a single organ may be unable to perform the work of an internist. This is because an internist has been trained to manage multisystem disease conditions. As such, they can manage acute diseases that impact on different organs of the body.
Needless to say, internists do not provide more expertise than doctors that focus on single organ disease. The major difference is that internists have been specially trained to handle multiple or complex problems in patients.
Generally, the task of this doctor includes:
- Diagnosing and treating problems related to the internal organs including the heart, lungs, and liver
- Treating and manage complex illness
- Treating and managing common health problems including pneumonia, influenza, etc.
Should I Choose a Family Doctor or Internal Medicine Doctor
Given that these are both medical practitioners, it can be a bit tricky to make the right choice between both. Either of these is also primary care doctor that can diagnose and treat medical conditions. Despite this, there are several benefits of choosing one over the other depending on your medical condition.
For starters, you don’t need to have kids before you can see a family doctor. On the other hand, you’ll need to be at least 18 to see an internist. Accordingly, you can opt for an internist if you’re above 18 or go for a family doctor. Alternatively, the same cannot be said for people under 18 since they cannot see an internist except the person is also a family doctor.
Training for an Internal Medicine Doctor
A doctor who is a qualified internist has graduated from medical school. He/she has also completed their internal medicine residency which takes place for three years. The doctor can then begin their practice after residency.
Here’s a more precise breakdown
The academic requirements to become an internist varies across the world. Generally, a good number of programs require that a person attends college or university before they attend university. College may take as long as four to five years and may vary depending on the country.
Medical school in the U.S., for instance, takes four years to complete and it could take as long as 8 years to complete college and also medical school. After both pieces of training, potential internists are still required to undergo supervised practice before they are licensed. This practice may take up to 2 years and it is called internship (and may be called residency training in North America.)
What’s more, the residency training may take three years to complete. It differs for trainees in commonwealth countries who have to dedicate four years after completion of the medical degree.
Internal Medicine Subspecialties
Even though the internist is focused on a specialty, there are some internists who may take it one step further to subspecialize and give even more focus to a certain medical area. Accordingly, subspecialty training may be undergone and it may add one or three years to the regular internal medicine residency that takes only three years.
Subspecialize training would require a more in-depth and broad study of the area focused on. It ensures that the doctor will be able to manage even the most adverse medical problems. They will also be able to carry out advanced clinical procedures if need be.
Internal Medicine Doctor Salary
The internal medicine doctor’s salary in the U.S. Canada, Dubai, and other regions varies. However, one can have a good estimate of what the average salary of this physician is. Therefore, if you’re wondering what they earn or you’re interested in the field, here’s what you should know:
According to Payscale, the internal medicine doctor’s average salary is around $197,352 per year. And a closer look at the salaries by state shows a slight difference between them. The salary in New York, Massachuchet, Washington, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maryland are $237,674, $235,423, $233,779, $226,397, $217,962 and $218,254 respectively.
The salary for other states have been outlined below:
- Idaho – $216,610
- Alaska – $216,610
- Hawaii – $226,197
- Nevada – $216,610
- Montana – $216,610
- Wyoming – $216,610
- Maryland – $218,254
- Connecticut – $217,962
- North Dakota – $216,610
- Virginia – $212,056
- Vermont – $214,951
- Kentucky – $207,341
- California – $214,187
- Nebraska – $214,233
- Rhode Island – $213,302
- South Dakota – $208,904
- Arizona – $205,046
- New Jersey – $207,119
- Pennsylvania – $205,466
- West Virginia – $206,382
- South Carolina – $204,518
- Ohio – $202,642
- Oregon – $203,525
- Colorado – $203,467
- Delaware – $203,133
- Tennessee – $203,616
- Minnesota – $204,343Iowa – $196,603
- Utah – $200,954
- Texas – $192,117
- Maine – $198,261
- Georgia – $194,283
- Kansas – $198,998
- Indiana – $199,801
- Wisconsin – $201,504
- Louisiana – $198,626
- Oklahoma – $199,485
- Illinois – $189,619
- Florida – $183,031
- Missouri – $186,400
- Michigan – $190,280
- Alabama – $190,066
- Arkansas – $191,089
- Mississippi – $187,604
- New Mexico – $191,500
- North Carolina – $175,341
How Long Do Internal Medicine Doctors Work?
The hours worked by an internal medicine doctor depends on the place they work in. Nonetheless, these doctors may dedicate 40 hours per week and are also up on their toes during medical emergencies. In contrast, the number of hours worked may vary for physicians that work in private health care centers. It may be fewer hours put at work each day, even though a certain amount of time may be used to achieve tasks.
Where Do Internal Medicine Doctors Work?
The first thought that may come to mind is that internal medicine doctors work in hospitals, and you won’t be wrong. Asides from that, they may work in clinics, offices, and even run their own private hospital. It is also possible for these doctors to partner with one another to form group practice. What’s more, others may opt to offer their services part-time in various facilities.
How to Find an Internal Medicine Doctor Near You
There’s an internal medicine near you and you can find a good one with ease. All you have to do is either get recommendations from a health worker such as your primary doctor. You can also ask a family, friend, or colleague if they know any they can recommend.
The best part is, you can search online and Google will automatically bring up a list of hospitals that have an internal medicine doctor. In the end, ensure that the doctor you settle for has the right qualification and has been certified.
What Makes a Good Internal Medicine Doctor
As with other physicians who have a duty to make their patients feel safe and comfortable, there are qualities that make a good internal medicine doctor. Some of these qualities are:
A good internist is compassionate and imagines themselves in the shoes of their patient. Even if they are not compassionate on a normal day, they take it upon themselves to show their patients the utmost concern to make them feel loved.
A good internist understands their patient and what they are trying to relay. Is it how they feel, the symptoms they’ve experienced, their fears, etc. In the same vein, this physician helps their patients to understand their medical condition, the right medication to take, and when to take it. The same goes for the potential side effects as well as the potential outcome of these drugs.
Internists and generally doctors irrespective of their profession are committed to their duty to patients. In this case, they believe that they are not just doing their job, but their passion and need to help humanity. As a result, it makes it easy for them to help people even in the face of a pandemic.
Physicians have been taught and again to treat the patient instead of the disease. Accordingly, priority has been given to being a good doctor to your patient and giving them a sense of love despite their condition. It also means being a good colleague, a customer at shops, etc. It all begins with liking your patients and let the love come from deep within to show them the utmost care.
A good internist is one that is highly competent to treat various ailments related to their niche. They have more than basic knowledge about treating and managing complex conditions. There’s also emotional intelligence to put into considerations, and in this case, their ability to collaborate with other doctors to improve the patient’s health.
American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics mandates doctors to be modern with patients. However, there are cases where doctors may tell patients something untrue which goes against this code. Some doctors back this up by noting that the truth might not be helpful and could make patients lose hope. Despite this, it is better to be straightforward with patients. It can be coupled with concern and care and can be better than an outright just to make light of matters.
Good internists are courageous and act in a way that is in the best interest of patients. They need to try repeatedly to get things right even when they are not working according to plan. Courage is needed to point out unsafe practices, report medical error, point out an incompetent coworker, amongst others.
An internal medicine doctor specializes in treating ailments that a family doctor wouldn’t have. There are conditions they treat and the qualities they need to have to ensure that they are promoting the patient’s health. In line with that, the internal medicine doctor’s salary, working hours, training, amongst others have been outlined above. You can rely on them to make an informed decision on whether to visit one or study to become one.