What does a Primary Care Physician do?
Primary care physicians are a patient's regular family doctor. They develop long-term relationships with their patients through routine checkups and visits, and serve as the first medical professional the patient will visit if they have medical concerns that go beyond the normal routine checkups.
Primary care physicians examine patients and take their medical history, updating their charts as needed. They counsel patients on health-related issues including daily activities, diet, hygiene-related concerns or issues, and prevention measures. They address patient concerns or answer questions patients may have about their health and well-being, and they assess and treat conditions that occur in a patient's everyday life. They prescribe medication and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests for their patients and diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment for various problems that affect internal organ systems. Primary care physicians also refer patients to specialists when applicable and need a degree in medicine, 3-4 years of medical residency, a license to practice medicine and certification in family medicine where applicable.
Primary Care Physician Career Path
Learn how to become a Primary Care Physician, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.