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Subspecialty Careers: Highlights about Careers in Internal Medicine: General Internal Medicine

The Discipline
Internal medicine is a specialty that relies on the basic sciences and a diverse breadth of knowledge to form the foundation for a successful career in a variety of fields. General internists are crucial in filling a vital need in our health care system, serving as the primary or principal providers of care in outpatient (ambulatory) and /or inpatient (hospital) settings.

General internists handle the broad and comprehensive spectrum of illnesses that affect adults, and are recognized as experts in diagnosis, in treatment of chronic illness, and in health promotion and disease prevention—they are not limited to one type of medical problem or organ system.

Procedures
Common procedures for general internists include lumbar puncture, joint aspiration, central venous line placement, paracentesis and thoracentesis.

Training
After successful completion of medical school, those interested in becoming an internist will enter a residency program. Residency in internal medicine usually lasts three years, and residents work in a variety of settings, including university hospitals, community teaching hospitals, hospital outpatient clinics, and community physicians’ offices. Residents assume progressive responsibility as they acquire various skills in treating hospitalized patients and gain competency in ambulatory care.

Certification
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) offers certification for physicians interested in pursuing the field of internal medicine.

Major Professional Society
American College of Physicians
190 N. Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572
Phone: 215.351.2400
Web site: http://www.acponline.org

Major Publications
Annals of Internal Medicine
ACP Internist
ACP Hospitalist

Have questions about training and careers in internal medicine? Search the ACP Mentoring Database to find an internal medicine physician who can answer your questions.

Back to June 2008 Issue of IMpact

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