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Career Story: Primary Care General Practitioner In An Urban Practice

Primary Care General Practitioner In An Urban Practice

Job Title: Physician

Type of Company: I am a primary care internist in a 5 physician group practice in an urban setting that provides medical care to adults

Education: BS, Boston College •• MD, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Previous Experience: I have worked in the same job since my residency.

Job Tasks: I provide medical care to several thousand patients who view me as their primary care doctor. My day starts at the hospital, where I make rounds on my patients who are hospitalized for an acute illness. I examine them, review their lab and x-ray results and then I write a note that formulates the plan for the day.

I then go to my office and see my appointments for the day. Each day is different. My patients range in age from 18 to 98! Many have chronic medical conditions -- diabetes, congestive heart failure, and hypertension -- for which they take many medications that need to be reviewed. I also do annual medical exams on my many healthy patients, being sure to provide counseling concerning health issues and arranging preventive screening exams. Additionally, there are the many urgent care visits during the day for acute problems like colds, sore throats, back pains, headaches, abdominal pains, urinary tract infections, etc. that need to be examined and treated.

At the end of the day, I spend several hours making phone calls to patients and their families to review test results and to provide plans for follow up. Because my practice is electronic, I can finish office notes and review data even while at home.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is knowing patients for many years -- I often have the privilege of caring for 3 generations of the same family. Also, I really love geriatric care; being a person's doctor as they become old and frail gives me the opportunity to really help them and their families.

The hours are the worst part of my job; the days are often very long.

Job Tips: My advice to anyone pursuing a job in primary care medicine is to be sure that they are willing to spend long hours at work, that they enjoy listening to people, that they have patience, that they are good at multi-tasking, that they are very organized and able to manage lots of data,.

Medicine has become increasingly technologically driven. The beauty of primary care is that there are no machines between you and the patient, so you really must have really strong social and personal skills.

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