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Purpose and Mission
General medicine specialists are trained in internal medicine, and diagnose and treat complex, unusual or severe medical illnesses. They provide an array of non-surgical health care to adults and continue to see their patients until their medical issues have been resolved. Patients are usually referred to internal medicine specialists via their general practitioners. Internists work in both hospitals and clinics.
These specialists are trained to analyse research and drug industry claims regarding new treatments. They are aware of complex interactions of various medications that a patient may have to take to treat a variety of medical illnesses. Internal medicine specialists provide pre and post-operative assessments and provide patient risk management advice to surgeons relating to operations.
Most general medicine specialists work in private practice, and thus typically do not have a direct supervisor. They are typically supervised by the management of their practice or the medical committees of hospitals where they have privileges.
The supervisory responsibilities of internal medicine specialists vary significantly, but those in private practice typically have some responsibilities related to maintaining and managing their practice/office. Senior internists often supervise residents or help new colleagues learn the ropes.
General medicine specialists have earned an undergraduate degree, and have also graduated from medical school and completed a two- to four-year residency program. Continuing education is also mandated by individual states to maintain licensure.
Keep in mind that all physicians must be registered with the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) to practise in Australia, as well as with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which provides administrative and policy support to the National Health Practitioners Boards.
Responsibilities of a General Medicine Specialist
Internal medicine specialists must work hard to build rapport and strong relationships with their patients so as to instill confidence in the quality of care they are providing. It’s also important for internists get to know their patients as individuals, so they can be caring, compassionate, empathetic and kind to their patients in their time of need. General medicine physicians should also be honest with their patients and communicate the medical issues in plain language so that patients can understand the issue at hand. General medicine specialists have a very broad medical background and their unique combination of skills, training and knowledge distinguishes them from other medical professionals.