Family Practice Vs. General Practice Doctors

Oct 06, 2019

This article will address how a family practice doctor and general practice doctor are similar and the difference between these professions. Median annual salary and job growth are also discussed.

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Comparing Family Practice to General Practice Doctors

Family practice doctors are generally known as family practitioners and general practice doctors are commonly known as general practitioners. These professions are similar in many ways; however, a family practitioner generally treats scheduled patients of all ages with common illnesses and basic patient care. A general practitioner gives basic care along with ordering x-rays, scans, and will perform minor suturing and wound treatment.

Job Title Educational Requirements Average Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Family Practice Doctor Medical Degree $182,882 10%
General Practice Doctor Medical Degree $111,637 10%

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Family Practice vs. General Practice Doctors

Family practitioners are considered primary care providers and typically treat all family members from infants to elderly individuals. They treat issues such as common colds and viruses, but will write a specialist referral for medical issues that might be more serious. General practitioners also see a variety of patients; however, usually infants will not be seen by these doctors and they can perform in-depth diagnostic testing. In addition to a medical degree, both of these professions require certification through the U.S. National Licensing Examination.

Family Practice Doctors

Doctors in this scope of practice can diagnose patients and prescribe medicine. Their office hours are five days a week and they usually maintain normal office hours without on-call duties. Family practitioners do have paperwork and dictation that must be completed daily. Since they perform paperwork duties, most doctors will set aside office hours during the day that is primarily for recording patient visits. Often a family practice doctor will work in an office that has several other doctors practicing within the same scope.

Job responsibilities of a family practice doctor include:

  • Occasionally working overnight or extended hours if the practice requires it (not common)
  • Managing and ordering immunizations for patients
  • Performing primary care for patients who are ill or have common health issues
  • Referring patients to specialists or diagnostic centers for testing and therapies

General Practice Doctors

These practitioners work in clinical setting such as: urgent cares or health clinics. Their office hours can vary depending on when the clinic is open. Some of these clinics can be open past normal office hours and weekends. General practitioners will focus on health maintenance with their patients and will give them advice on how to change bad lifestyle habits in order to improve certain medical conditions. Generally these clinics have labs and diagnostic machines, which allow them to perform medical testing to further diagnosis certain issues. These doctors will need to keep clinical records on patients. These records will be used if a patient needs to be referred to another doctor for further testing or needs to be seen by a specialist.

Job responsibilities of a general practice doctor include:

  • Diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical issues
  • Ordering x-rays and other tests
  • Treating wounds and injuries
  • Prescribing medications to patients as needed

Related Careers

If you are interested in either of these professions, then a career as a physician assistant or nurse practitioner may interest you also, as these careers also include caring for patients in a health-care setting.

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