At graduation, the newly minted doctor must choose an accredited residency program in one or another area of practice. Primary care physicians are generalists, such as family doctors, gynecologists and pediatricians.
Both types of physicians treat illnesses, injuries and other conditions with medicines, physical therapy and other non-surgical techniques. Surgeons perform many of the same duties as other physicians, recording patients' medical histories and diagnosing illnesses, injuries and other conditions.
However, while physicians therapies typically encourage the body to heal itself, surgeons act directly to correct illnesses, injuries and deformities. Working through open incisions in the traditional way with scalpels, or with tiny instruments inserted into the body through fine tubes or, increasingly, with the aid of robots, surgeons cut, fuse and reshape the body's tissues to restore proper function.
Quick Facts: Physicians and Surgeons This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year or $100.00 per hour. Doctoral or professional degree None Internship/residency 752,4004% (As fast as average) 27,300 Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses.
Overall employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Learn more about physicians and surgeons by visiting additional resources, including O×NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates. Both use the same methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, but D.O.s place additional emphasis on the body's musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic (whole-person) patient care.
Take a patient’s medical history Update charts and patient information to show current findings and treatments Order tests for nurses or other healthcare staff to perform Review test results to identify any abnormal findings Recommend and design a plan of treatment Address concerns or answer questions that patients have about their health and well-being Help patients take care of their health by discussing topics such as proper nutrition and hygiene They administer drugs (anesthetics) that reduce or eliminate the sensation of pain during an operation or another medical procedure.
During surgery, they are responsible for adjusting the amount of anesthetic as needed, and monitoring the patient's heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and breathing. Family and general physicians assess and treat a range of conditions that occur in everyday life.
General internists diagnose and provide nonsurgical treatment for a range of problems that affect internal organ systems such as the stomach, kidneys, liver, and digestive tract. Internists use a variety of diagnostic techniques to treat patients through medication or hospitalization.
General pediatricians provide care for infants, children, teenagers, and young adults. Most pediatricians treat common illnesses, minor injuries, and infectious diseases, and administer vaccinations.
Some pediatricians specialize in pediatric surgery or serious medical conditions that commonly affect younger patients, such as autoimmune disorders or chronic ailments. Obstetricians and gynecologists(OB/Guns) provide care related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the female reproductive system.
They diagnose and treat mental illnesses through a combination of personal counseling (psychotherapy), psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication. The psychiatrist helps them find solutions through changes in their behavioral patterns, explorations of their experiences, or group and family therapy sessions.
Psychiatrists may prescribe medications to correct chemical imbalances that cause some mental illnesses. Using a variety of instruments, a surgeon corrects physical deformities, repairs bone and tissue after injuries, or performs preventive or elective surgeries on patients.
Although a large number perform general surgery, many surgeons choose to specialize in a specific area. Physicians and surgeons may work in a number of other medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties.
Some physicians may choose to work in fields that do not involve patient care, such as medical research or public policy. Surgeons and anesthesiologists usually work in well-lighted, sterile environments, and often stand for long periods.
Increasingly, physicians are working in group practices, healthcare organizations, or hospitals, where they share many patients with other doctors. The group setting allows them more time off and lets them coordinate care for their patients, but it gives them less independence than solo practitioners have.
Surgeons and anesthesiologists usually work in sterile environments while performing surgery and may stand for long periods. While on call, a physician may need to address a patient’s concerns over the phone or make an emergency visit to a hospital or nursing home.
Physicians and surgeons may work in a medical specialty, such as cardiology, dermatology, pathology, or radiology. Although no specific major is required, students usually complete undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and English.
In addition, some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain experience in a healthcare setting. Most applicants must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation.
Schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. They also gain practical skills; learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.
During their last 2 years, medical students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. Through rotations in internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery, they gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses in a variety of areas.
After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in their specialty of interest. A residency usually takes place in a hospital and varies in duration, generally lasting from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specialty.
To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty. Physicians and surgeons must accurately monitor and record various pieces of information related to patient care.
Good record keeping and other organizational skills are critical in both medical and business settings. Physicians and surgeons may work for long periods with patients who need special attention.
Physicians and surgeons should be comfortable lifting or turning disabled patients, or performing other physical tasks. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.
While on call, a physician may need to address a patient’s concerns over the phone or make an emergency visit to a hospital or nursing home. The growing and aging population is expected to drive overall growth in the demand for physician services.
As the older population grows and rates of chronic illnesses increase, consumers will seek high levels of care that use the latest technologies, diagnostic tests, and therapies. Demand for most types of physicians and surgeons is expected to increase despite factors that can temper growth.
If adopted, new technologies can reduce the number of physicians who would be needed to complete the same tasks. Demand for physicians services is sensitive to changes in healthcare reimbursement policies.
Consumers may seek fewer physician services if changes to health coverage result in higher out-of-pocket costs for them. 29-124839,60038,800-2-900 Get data This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of physicians and surgeons.
Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2019 MEDIAN PAY Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Doctoral or professional degree$70,340Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth.
Master's degree$115,800Optometrists diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes. Doctoral or professional degree$115,250Physician assistants practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers.
The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.
For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.