Family and General Practitioners
On the Job
Family and general practitioners help people maintain and improve their health.
Family and general practitioners are doctors who see a wide variety of people. Most are primary care physicians and are often the first point of contact for people seeking health care. They may see infants, children, and adults both young and old. They see the same patients on a regular basis. When needed, they send patients to health care specialists for testing or treatment.
Family and general practitioners ask patients questions to learn more about their medical history. They examine patients and order lab tests. They also explain test results and review treatment options with patients and their families. If more than one treatment is available, they help patients decide which option to choose. Sometimes family and general practitioners perform minor surgery on patients or deliver babies. They watch a patient's condition and make changes in the treatment if needed. They also talk to patients about good health practices, such as diet and exercise.
Family and general practitioners assign tasks to nurses and other health care workers. They also regularly consult with other health care professionals. In private practice, they may oversee the business aspects of running an office. Family and general practitioners make sure to keep detailed records about each patient. They write reports for insurance companies and government agencies that collect data on births and deaths.
Some family and general practitioners teach at medical schools. They may also do research on procedures and treatments for disease. Advances in medicine require doctors to update their skills regularly.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Prescribe or administer treatment, therapy, medicine, or other specialized medical care.
- Order or perform tests on patients. Analyze results and make diagnoses
- Examine patients to find location of health problems.
- Monitor the patients' conditions and progress. Re-evaluate treatments as needed.
- Refer patients to health care specialists when needed.
- Assign tasks to nurses and other health workers.
- Perform medical procedures, such as delivering babies and performing surgery.
- Recommend treatment and discuss with patients.
- Counsel patients on preventive health measures, such as diet and exercise.
- Counsel family members about patient's condition.
- Keep detailed records on patients' health.
- Write chart notes. Fill out paperwork for government agencies or insurance companies.
- Take classes to update skills.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Document and record information.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Assist and care for others.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Provide advice and consultation to others.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Analyze data or information.
- Process information.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Work with the public.
- Use computers.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Teach others.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social interaction with others. Physicians work closely with patients and other health care workers.
- Are greatly responsible for the health and safety of others.
- Are responsible for the work done by the health care workers they supervise.
- Are often placed in conflict situations in which they must deal with patients and family members who might be angry or unpleasant.
- Communicate daily by phone, letters, memos, and in person. They use e-mail, but less frequently.
- Usually work as part of a team of medical professionals.
- Always work indoors in clinics and hospitals.
- Often wear a special uniform, such as a white jacket.
- Are exposed daily to the diseases or infections that their patients have.
- Often wear masks or rubber gloves to protect themselves and their patients from disease.
- Work very near others. They must come into close physical contact with patients during examinations.
- Must be very exact in their work and be sure all details are complete. Errors or omissions could seriously endanger the health and safety of patients.
- Repeat the same physical and mental tasks.
- Make decisions on a daily basis that substantially impact patients and their families.
- Make nearly all their decisions and set their daily tasks and goals independently.
- Work in a moderately competitive, stressful atmosphere where they must meet daily deadlines.
- Usually work more than 40 hours per week.
- Generally work a set schedule.
- May be on-call, which means available to work on short notice to handle emergencies.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Stand, sit, or walk for long periods of time.
- Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.