Many people are confused by the term “doctor of internal medicine.” They may think that an internal medicine doctor is an intern, or a student physician in training who has completed medical school and has a medical degree, but is not yet licensed to practice medicine on their own.
The practice of internal medicine actually began around the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, as medical science became more formalized. Internal medicine was a new, science-based methodology that concentrated on treating adults.
Prior to this, the practice of medicine was a bit more freewheeling, limited to more apprenticeship forms of training and often handed down father to son. As of the early 1800’s there were only four medical schools in the United States.
An internal medicine physician is a doctor who focuses on providing comprehensive medical care to adults. Known as internists, internal medicine doctors are often primary care physicians that can be the go-to doctor for many patients (Most primary care doctors are either family medical doctors or internal medicine doctors). Internal medicine encompasses the entire spectrum of adult heath care at all life stages, except childhood. In some ways, the internist is a jack of all trades for medical practice.
More About Internal Medicine Physicians
In order to become an internal medicine specialist, these doctors undergo three years of a grueling internal medicine residency. Many internal medicine doctors go to train in a subspecialty, such as cardiology, endocrinology, geriatrics, rheumatology, sports medicine, infectious diseases, allergy and immunology, oncology, critical care, nephrology, or oncology. An internal medicine doctor, for example, might treat conditions such as:
- Blood problems
- Mental health and neurological disorders
- Kidney problems
- Respiratory disease
- Hormonal and endocrine issues
- Heart disease
- Arthritis and other rheumatologic conditions
- Digestive disorders
- Neurological conditions
- Infectious diseases
Internal medicine doctors are general care providers. Many internal medicine doctors have the letters “FACP” after their name. This means that they are recognized fellows of the largest society of internal medicine doctors in the world, the American College of Physicians, or ACP.
Internal medicine doctors are specially trained to address a wide range of disease states, injuries, conditions and disorders. As such, they are often the first line of medical care, treating patients for everything from a cold to hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes. They are also trained to ferret out difficult medical conditions, diagnosing complex conditions, as well as treating chronic and severe illnesses.
Internal medicine physicians also perform routine tests and physicals, administer injections and oversee the medical care of their patients. They frequently coordinate the care of other specialists, and develop long term relationships with their patients. Internal medicine doctors are often found in hospitals as well as private practice.
Some internal medicine doctors specialize in treating hospitalized patients. Known as hospitalists, they oversee the care of patients who have been admitted to the hospital in the same way a primary care doctor does with a non-hospitalized patient.
If you, or a loved one is looking for effective, comprehensive care, look to the dedicated internal medicine doctors of Intercoastal Medical Group. Call (941) 362-8662 for an appointment today with one of our highly qualified, caring internal medicine doctors. You can also request an appointment online.