Internal Medicine Physician Job Profile

The internal medicine physician job is one of the most interesting and rewarding in the medical profession, Also known as an internist, they perform a wide variety to duties designed to keep the patient in excellent health. This article will look at those duties, as well as training, salary and employment outlook.

Defintion and duties

An internal medicine physician diagnoses and treats ailments and injuries related to a person's internal organ system. This includes digestive organs, cardiovascular organs, pulmonary organs, spleen, liver, kidneys and more. Much of the internist's work involves testing and interpreting test results. They can also suggest lifestyle changes to avoid surgery and prescribe medicine to treat internal organ ailments.

Education and training

Extensive training is needed to become a recognized internal medicine physician. You will need to have four years of college education with a strong emphasis on biology, chemistry and other science courses. Then you will be required to attend four years of medical school at an accreditted institution. After graduation, you will need to find an internship or residency at a recognized hospital or other instiution.

This internship can last from three to eight years, depending on requirements. A beginning internist is usually mentored by an experienced physician. The aspiring physican must also pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination to be fully recognized as doctors. They must also be licensed by the state where they will be practicing. Each state's licensing requirements are different, but if all other prerequisites for being an internist are met, the licensing should be little problem.

Hours and schedule

An internal medicine physician will generally work long and irregular hours. In many cases, a work week of 60 hours is typical. An internist can work days, nights, weekends and holidays so it is not recommended for those who prefer regular hours in an office environment.

An internist will spend a large amount of time using equipment that is used for testing, including X-ray and chemical tests. A good deal of time is spent examining and talking to patients as well. At times, the internist will need to consult with other specialists treating the patient. Many internists will work 12 hours shifts for four days a week, leaving three days free.

Salary and outlook

The salaries for internal medicine physicians are very good. Even a beginning internist can expect to make about $150,000 a year. After several years of steady practice, the amount can rise to $230,000 a year. This can vary depending on geographical location. The employment outlook for internists is good. The profession is expected to grow at a fast pace, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the growth is expected in rural and low-income areas.