Internal medicine doctors, or internists, are primary care physicians who specialize in medical conditions that affect adult patients. They often tend to work with patients suffering from complex health conditions.
Thinking about pursuing this career? Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking of becoming an internal medicine doctor.
Are You Ready for the Time Commitment?
The process of becoming an internist is a long one. Like all doctors, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in pre-med or a related field, pass the MCAT exam, complete four years of med school, and complete three years of residency training.
After completing your education, you must pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). The USMLE includes a series of assessments that evaluate your medical knowledge, clinical skills, and overall preparedness to provide patient care. These assessments, known as questions, are designed to test your understanding of various medical concepts and your ability to apply that knowledge in clinical scenarios. Successfully navigating the medical licensing exam is an important milestone in becoming an internal medicine doctor.
It takes about 11 years to become an internal medicine doctor, including completing the challenging USMLE questions. These questions significantly ensure that aspiring doctors like yourself are well-equipped to handle the responsibilities and challenges associated with internal medicine practice.
All in all, it takes about 11 years to become an internal medicine doctor.
Do You Enjoy Working With Adults?
The main thing that sets internal medicine apart from traditional primary practice is the population of people they treat. Whereas primary care providers can see children, internists are only trained to work with adults.
Internal medicine doctors diagnose, prevent, and treat common health conditions that affect adults, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, lung disease, and obesity. Internal medicine doctors also tend to diagnose or act as primary care physicians to patients suffering from liver disease, kidney disease, thyroid diseases, and other chronic health conditions.
In order to work with children, internists need to receive additional training in pediatrics.
If you’re not a fan of working with children or have a particular interest in working with adults, then internal medicine could be the perfect medicine specialty for you.
Do You Want to Make a Difference in Patients’ Lives?
There’s no doubt that this career can be a very rewarding one. If you’re a compassionate individual who has a genuine desire to help others, then this might be the right career path for you.
Although internists do see healthy patients, they tend to see more chronically ill patients. Their patients may be suffering from difficult diseases, such as organ failure, heart disease, and even cancer.
When you become an internal medicine doctor, you’ll have the opportunity to help people from all walks of life. You’ll be able to make a positive difference in their lives and be there for them as they receive challenging diagnoses and undergo difficult treatments. You’ll actually get to save lives.
Are You Looking for Financial Security?
If you’re looking for a financially rewarding career, then look no further! Internists earn an average salary of $229,900, as of 2022. Their earnings can be as high as $289,926. The income you’ll make can provide you with a level of financial security that you won’t find in many other careers.
Although money alone isn’t a good reason to become a doctor, it can make the time investment required to begin your career as an internist worth it in the long run.
Do You Want to Choose Another Specialty?
Internal medicine doctors can act as primary care physicians, but many of them also choose a second specialty. It’s not uncommon for internal medicine doctors to become trained in cardiology, endocrinology, geriatrics, nephrology, oncology, pulmonology, sports medicine, urology, and other specialties that treat common adulthood conditions and diseases. This opens up the door to many opportunities and areas of practice and adds an extra layer of job security.
These are just some things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of becoming an internal medicine doctor. Although this career can be a huge time commitment, it can also be an incredibly rewarding career for the right individual.