For patients looking for
a doctor internal medicine:
If you're a doctor, internal medicine as a
means what exactly?
If you dont know or arent certain, you arent
alone. According to Author Wayne J. Guglielmo, Thirty-one
percent of respondents in a national random sample said that the
definition of internist is a doctor who deals with
internal organs. More significantly, 17 percent said it means
a medical student in training, clearly confusing internist with
intern. Another 17 percent said they didnt know what the
An American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal
Medicine (ACP-ASIM) media campaign termed Doctors of Internal
Medicine: Doctors for Adults summarizes the core message
organizers hope to get across, said Guglielmo.
People are confused, said Portland, OR, Internist
Andrea M. Kielich, a member of the committee overseeing the media
campaign. We want people to know that internists are the
doctors who specialize in adults and who handle both routine stuff
as well as multiple and complex illnesses.
Internal Medicine is a non-surgical medical specialty
concerned with diseases of internal organs in adults. Doctors
internal medicine, known as Internists, are skilled in disease
prevention and in managing complex disorders of the body. Internists
may be either generalists of specialists.
General internists, typically act as personal physicians,
developing long-term relationships with patients. Internists give
patients regular physical examinations, offer preventive care,
diagnose and treat most non-surgical illnesses, and refer serious
or unusual cases to an appropriate specialist. If a patient complains
of persistent stomach problems, for example, a general internist
might refer the patient to a gastroenterologist, an internist
who specializes in disorders of the digestive system.
For these doctors, Internal Medicine includes nine
- Cardiology, the treatment of diseases of the heart and blood
- Endocrinology, the study of glands and other structures that
- Gastroenterology, the care of conditions of the digestive
tract, liver, and pancreas;
- Hematology, the study of blood and blood-forming tissues;
Infectious disease, the study of blood and blood-forming tissues;
- Nephrology, the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases;
Oncology, the study and treatment of cancerous tumors;
- Pulmonary disease, concerned with disorders of the lungs and
other components of the respiratory system; and
- Rheumatology, the treatment of disorders involving joints
and other connective tissues.
- An additional subspeciality gaining prominence is Geriatrics,
the study of diseases affecting older adults.
The origins of Internal Medicine date back to the late
19th Century, when the practices of general medicine and surgery
began to split into separate disciplines. Over time, internists
became hospital-based generalists who played a role somewhere
between those played today by family physicians and surgical specialists.
Since the mid-1990s, Internal Medicine in the United States has
shifted from a primarily generalist field to a discipline in which
roughly 65 percent of all internists are certified as subspecialists.
Those seeking a career in Internal Medicine must obtain
a medical degree and complete a three-year in-hospital internal
medicine training program. Internists interested in a subspecialty
must spend one or two additional years studying that discipline
and must pass a certification test. The specialty board for Internal
Medicine, the American Board of Internal Medicine, was established
For med and premed students
looking into what speciality they will be as a doctor, internal
medicine is an option:
For doctors internal medicine: