Definition of Primary Care Physician
Have you ever been to your regular family doctor because you weren't feeling well? Maybe you had an ache or pain you wanted the have checked out, or maybe you just saw something that looked weird in the mirror and wanted to run it by your doctor? This type of doctor -- the one you see when you're not feeling well, have a fever or cough, are injured, or have another non-emergency medical concern, is known as a primary care physician. When you go to the office of a primary care physician, that makes you the patient.
To better understand what a primary care physician is, it is best to discuss what 'primary care' really means. Primary care is what an individual receives when visiting a doctor's office with a medical concern. Primary care also includes educating people about different illnesses and diseases as well as teaching them how to take care of themselves so they may remain healthy. In addition to counseling people on health issues, primary care involves the diagnosis and management of particular illnesses.
A primary care physician is a medical doctor who does all of these things. This physician has gone to college for over eight years and then participated in a medical internship for an additional three to eight years. During this internship, they learn how to properly diagnose, treat and teach about medical diseases and prevention.
There are different types of primary care physicians, including family doctors, internal medicine doctors and pediatricians. A family doctor sees the entire family while an internal medicine doctor usually sees teenage children to adults. The pediatric doctors are the primary care physicians for children that are newborn until old enough to see either a family medical doctor or an internal medicine doctor.
The primary care physician is a patient's point of first contact when a medical illness or concern arises. If the medical concern is out of the physician's scope of practice, it is then his or her responsibility to refer the patient to a specialist physician. Primary care physicians usually work 9-5 hours and tend to see their patients in a medical office building. They use nurses and medical assistants to help gather medical information and to assist when performing small, routine procedures.
Shortage of Primary Care Physician
Because of our growing population, the need for primary care physicians in on a rise. In addition to the increasing number of people in the country, the number of individuals that are now able to receive health care (Obamacare) has added to an expected shortage of these doctors.
Because people are not getting any younger, the medical issues that come with aging have also added to the demand for more primary care physicians.
To summarize, a primary care physician is a trained medical doctor that treats a variety of medical issues. These physicians teach patients about health promotion, and they deliver medical expertise and advice while diagnosing illnesses as well as injuries. If the medical concern the patient has needs further assistance, the primary care physician will refer the patient to a specialty doctor. Because of the growing population, there is an excepted shortage of primary care physicians in the very near future.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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