A general practitioner also know as a GP, local, or family doctor, is a physician who is not specialized in one specific area, but rather has general knowledge in each field and will refer patients to a specialist if needed. General practitioner provides routine health care such as physical examinations and immunizations, along with assessing and treating different conditions including injuries and illnesses. It is common for general practitioners to have regular, long-term patients and provide them with on going care. General practitioners often work in private offices or clinics, with a small staff of administrators and nurses. It is possible for some general practitioners to have particular interest or expertise in a certain health condition/disability, so it is important for a person to find a general practitioner that works best for them. It is important for a person to have a general practitioner makes them feel comfortable because in order to receive the best care, they need to be able to express their needs, share personal information, understand and listen/ be heard, and discuss difficult questions.
When would I need a General Practitioner?
A person will who seeks medical care will often see a general practitioner as their first point of contact for non-emergency and preventative medical care. One may need to see a general practitioner for a physical examination, diagnosing and treating disease, pain and other conditions, in addition to providing vaccinations, family planning advice, mental health advice, wound care, prescribing medication, and writing referrals for tests, scans, or to a specialist.
How can a General Practitioner help me?
A general practitioner can help with a range of health issues. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, the general practitioner will refer the patient to a specialist. A general practitioner can provide support in coordination with your care and create a treatment plan that is best for you. If you are seeing multiple healthcare practitioners to treat the same or different health issues, you general practitioner is the best person to coordinate your overall healthcare.
What should I expect when I see a General Practitioner?
An appointment with a general practitioner lasts about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Therefore, it is best to go into the appointment prepared with all questions and concerns in order to make the most use of the time given. Be prepared to discuss about new or unusual symptoms, medical history, family illness, and have your insurance details in hand. If the general practitioner assigns a course of treatment you are not comfortable with, discuss alternatives. Make sure to be specific when describing symptoms.