Internal medicine basically is the sphere of medical practice that is focused on treating adults. These medical professionals prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that afflict adults. As per Vijaya Boggala, they can provide treatment to chronically ill patients, well as offer short-term care. Dr. Boggala himself specializes in internal medicine as well. He graduated from the Kurnool Medical College in 2004, and currently practices in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Boggala also mentions that once a doctor completes an internal medicine residency, they are referred to as an internist. The internists may or may not opt to sub-specialize on a single illness or a particular part of the body.
The precise medical training acquired by internists enables them to both diagnose and treat adult patients with specific illnesses. As pointed by Vijaya Boggala a general internist shall be able to treat a number of common medical conditions. Internists with a subspecialty, on the other hand, are expertly trained to focus their efforts on complications stemming from a certain illness or body part. Most internists are also trained to offer adequate preventive care to the patients for a variety of medical conditions. They can easily carry out procedures like cancer screenings and mammograms. An internist shall also have the qualifications needed to aid the patients to competently plan their schedules and establish a regular routine, which helps them in their recovery process.
According to Vijaya Boggala, some of the most common responsibilities of the internists present at a hospital include:
- Completing daily patient visits
- Supervising the nursing staff
- Diagnosing the patients and developing treatment plans
- Ordering referrals for diagnostic testing with other healthcare providers
- Accurately formulating the patient treatment plans
- Prescribing appropriate drugs to the patients
- Explaining procedures and treatment options in layman’s terms to patients and family members before and after a medical procedure
Most internists are good at communicating, and strive to provide support to the patients in any way possible. In many medical institutions, patient referrals, hospital transfers and other interoffice communications are made with the assistance of the internists, to ensure that the patients do not have to deal with any hassle. Based on their subspecialty, patients may start seeing an internist when the patient is 18, and stay with them for decades. This would enable the patients to develop a reliable and trusting relationship with the doctor.
A lot of people confuse internal medicine doctors with family practice physicians. While both of these types of medical professionals do share certain similarities, their roles are not the same. The prime difference between them is that internists only treat adults, but family practitioners treat all the members of a family, including children. However, internists may become certified to treat children by opting to study both internal medicine and pediatrics.
Both internal medicine doctors and family practice physicians are required to attend four years of medical school and undergo a three-year residency. The internal medicine physicians additionally have to devote 3 years of their medical school studies and postgraduate training to adequately treat health issues related to adults.