When you decide to go to medical school, one big question revolves around choosing your specialty. As you ponder this, consider what kind of doctor you want to be. Do you want to treat the same people on a regular basis, developing long-term patient relationships with them? Do you want to treat a variety of conditions? Are you interested in a career that doesn’t involve surgery? Do you prefer working with adults over working with children? If you answered yes to these questions, a career in internal medicine might be a good fit for you.
The name internal medicine is a little bit confusing because, while internal medicine doctors do specialize in internal systems, they really treat the entire body. The specialty was first developed in Germany, combining laboratory research and patient care. The Germans called it innere medizin, and when German doctors brought the practice to the United States in the early 1900s, we called it internal medicine. A doctor of internal medicine treats a wide range of complex and common conditions, specializing in managing diseases of the internal organs while acting as a primary care physician for adult patients. Also called internists, these doctors treat everything from chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, to acute problems like sinus infections and sprains, diagnosing, prescribing treatment plans, and recommending preventative action. Disease prevention, mental health, substance abuse, common problems of the ears, eyes, skin, nervous system, and reproductive organs all fall under the category of internal medicine, and internists are also qualified to diagnose and treat chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Internal medicine is a good specialty for those who don’t want to be hemmed in by one area of medicine. Because they can manage so many conditions, internists are good at recognizing when a problem requires a different specialist, and they know when to make a referral. They also have a lot of options in terms of workplace, sometimes working in a medical group, sometimes in a hospital, and sometimes in their own private practices. Sometimes internal medicine residents combine their residencies with another specialty, becoming “double boarded” in internal medicine and another field. Specialties that are often combined with internal medicine include anesthesiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, preventive medicine, psychiatry, neurology, and medical genetics.
How does one go about embarking on a career in internal medicine? Becoming an internal medicine doctor begins with the same path every aspiring doctor takes. First comes the four-year bachelor’s degree, followed by a four year medical degree. In medical school, most students spend two years learning science and medicine in a classroom setting, then two years working with patients in clinical rotations. They begin the licensure process while they’re still in school, and then each student completes a postgraduate medical residency. For internists, this is an internal medicine residency, which lasts for three years. During residency, students complete their licensure requirements, and once they have completed a residency, they’re ready to obtain board certification and begin practicing medicine. While you are completing your internal medicine residency, you may want to consider pursuing an internal medicine subspecialty by completing additional fellowship training.
A medical degree is the precursor to a career in internal medicine, but internists need not only hard skills but also soft skills. Skills like leadership, problem-solving, physical stamina, and communication are all important, and so are business skills. Especially for internal medicine doctors who want to go into practice for themselves, an understanding of business is crucial. Internists also need to be committed to lifelong learning, so that they will stay up with new discoveries and techniques, always honing their skills further.
A rewarding career in internal medicine begins with finding the right medical school, and if you are looking for a medical school with a deep-rooted tradition of quality, look into Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara
. The first medical school in Latin America to offer a US-style curriculum, we are committed to cultivating future physicians who have the skills and abilities necessary to meet the challenges of personal and community health. With the best facilities in Guadalajara, state-of-the-art laboratories, and a close working relationship with many of the hospitals in the city, we are able to provide an excellent educational experience for our students both on campus and in the field. With the goal of preparing graduates for careers as physicians where they can provide individuals, families, and communities with outstanding preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services, our medical school offers a curriculum of excellence. We prepare our students to heal and serve their community, and we encourage them to strive for innovation, academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to society. For more information about our college of medicine, call 833-220-7645 or contact us
through our website.