Family/General Practitioner  What They Do

Just the Facts

Family and General Practitioners Career Video

Insider Info

dotFamily physicians play an important role in our society. They diagnose and treat health problems and offer preventative care.

In short, doctors try to make sick people healthy and keep healthy people from getting sick. It's a demanding, intriguing, fascinating and ever-changing career and one that many doctors love.

dotMost family physicians will say they love their jobs because every day is different. From delivering babies to helping the elderly, family doctors perform a wide range of activities every day.

Sewing up wounds, ordering laboratory tests, diagnosing ailments, prescribing medications, performing surgery, reporting births and deaths and filling out paperwork are all common functions for a family physician.

dotFor the most part, family physicians work either in clinics, hospitals or private practice.

dotThe average workday for physicians varies. But it's safe to say they work far more than the standard 40-hour workweek.

Many doctors spend some time on call. That means they can be called into the hospital at any time during the day or night. When doctors are on call, working weekends is common. Some medical offices or walk-in clinics are also open on weekends.

dotAlthough family doctors spend long hours working, most will say their jobs are more emotionally draining than physically draining. For doctors who choose to work in a clinic, a physical disability may not be a hindrance. It could just require some extra planning to accommodate both the doctor and patient.

Doctors spend a lot of time on their feet, especially when making hospital rounds to visit their patients.

dotIncreased paperwork for insurance purposes is also on the rise. That makes it harder for doctors to spend time with their patients.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Help sick people get better and help healthy people stay that way

  • There is a lot of variety in this work
  • A 60- or 70-hour workweek is common
  • You'll have to get a medical degree and a license to practice