A physician who specializes in Internal Medicine, also known as an internist or a hospitalist, uses their expertise to diagnose and treat adult patients across a spectrum of complex diseases.
The educational requirements to become a physician are lengthy and involve more than a decade of dedication to the patient safety and curing disease.
Training Required to Become an Internal Medicine Physician Includes:
- 4 Years of Undergraduate Education, usually with a strong emphasis on science/pre-med courses
- 4 Years of Medical School, consisting of preclinical and clinical rotations. Upon completion of medical school, students become MDs. However, additional training is required before earning the ability to practice medicine on their own as a physician. Some students also extend their undergraduate medical training by a year or two for research purposes.
- 3 Years of Residency Training, also known as graduate medical education at an accredited program.
- 1-3 Years of Fellowship Training, optional for those who wish to pursue careers in Geriatrics, Preventative Medicine, and other sub-specialized fields.
- Board Certification, also optional but very common. Ensures that the physician has been tested and deemed qualified to provide quality patient care in his or her specialty. Must be renewed every 6-10 years, depending on the specialty.
- 60 Hours of Continuing Medical Education every 3 Years, required in North Carolina to ensure the physician’s continued knowledge, current skills level and to protect patients.
The Internal Medicine physician leads a team of non-physician health care providers, which includes:
- Physician Assistants (PA)
- Nurse Practitioners (NP)
- Registered Nurses (RN)