The General Scoop on General Practitioners


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These days we live in a sort of medical paradox. On the one hand, new diseases and disorders are being discovered all the time. At the same time, however, new cures and medical breakthroughs are also constantly coming to light. As a result, there is still as much of a need for quality physicians and surgeons today as there has been in the past. The difference is that these doctors must know more than ever before, and be able to face whatever new development comes their way.

There are several doctors out there, many of whom specialize in a specific area of medicine. For instance, optometrists deal with a patient’s eyes and eye-related problems, while a dermatologist handles skin conditions and general skin health. There are dentists (teeth), psychiatrists (mental health), cardiologists (heart function) and many more.

Then there are family practice doctors. You may not have heard of them before since the term is somewhat outdated, but you’ve likely encountered at least one family practice doctor before. So what is a family practice doctor, exactly, and why do they matter so much?

What is a Family Practice Doctor?

The term “family practice doctor” refers to doctors equipped with the comprehensive skills and knowledge to care for patients of all ages with all conditions. Another term for a family practice doctor is “general practitioner.” This general practice came to prominence after World War Two due to the increase of those going into specialized medical fields. In 1969 it became an official medical practice.

Family practice doctors must go through rigorous schooling and training before receiving official certification. After completing undergraduate studies, a general practitioner must graduate medical school (typically four years in the United States), and then complete a three-year residency in family medicine.

Why are Family Practice Physicians Important?

The importance of these doctors cannot be overstated. While it’s wise to seek the help of doctors who specialize in a specific medical field for certain issues, general practitioners provide a level of personal attention and trust that is seldom found elsewhere. These professionals are also well-versed in all functions of the human body and can provide proper advice and treatment for just about any known disease, discomfort, or concern.

Family practice doctors are also knowledgable enough to deal with patients of all ages. Unlike pediatricians who specialize in caring for children and young adults, general practitioners can see to patients from ages zero to 120 (and beyond)!

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