A family practitioner is a medical doctor who specializes in family practice. Family practice (also known as family medicine) is a medical specialty in which general medical care, counseling, and problem solving is provided to an individual or family, without regard to age or as to whether the patient is male or female. Many family practitioners have done a residency in family medicine. A residency is a year or several years of clinical training after one has completed medical school. WHAT ELSE DOES A FAMILY PRACTITIONER DO?
Family practitioners can treat minor cuts and bruises, treat colds, and use stitches. Yet they can also take care of more serious long-term medical problems such as heart problems. They can also deliver babies and care for them afterwards. For more of the health care areas covered in family practice, please see the entry for that term. Family practitioners will refer a patient to a specialist if the problem the patient is experiencing is beyond his/her expertise.
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WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF MY FAMILY PRACTITIONER IS BOARD CERTIFIED?
Any family practitioner can apply to the American Board of Family Practice, to become board certified. The family practitioner that is board certified has been agreed upon by a board (group) of peers (other family practitioners) to meet the rigorous standards necessary to practice family medicine, and has achieved the highest level of education possible in this field.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAMILY PRACTITIONER AND A GENERAL PRACTITIONER?
Family practitioners generally have broader training than general practitioners. Since general practitioners (also known as GPs) have been replaced by family practitioners, the term general practitioner is not used much anymore. Unlike family practice, training opportunities in general practice after graduation from medical school became limited and there was no way to become board certified in general practice like there is in family practice (see above).
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAMILY PRACTITIONER AND AN INTERNIST?
Internists (doctors who practice internal medicine) are experts in adult health and are specially trained to deal with a wide range of adult health needs. Family practitioners are trained to deal with the health care needs of adults and children. In this context, adults refer to people that are age 18 or above.
HOW MUCH EDUCATION DOES ONE NEED TO BECOME A FAMILY PRACTITIONER?
To become a family practitioner, one needs to go to medical school after college. Medical school generally takes 4 years. After medical school, there is one year of internship and 2 years of specialized training (known as a residency) in family medicine.
HOW MUCH MONEY DOES A FAMILY PRACTITIONER MAKE?
Estimates vary, but in general a family practitioner makes between $120,000 and $175,000 a year. The lower salaries are made by beginning doctors whereas the higher salaries are made by doctors with more experience. WHAT ELSE IS A FAMILY PRACTITIONER KNOWN AS?
A family practitioner is also known as family practice physician. Family practitioner is sometimes abbreviated as FP. Some people still refer to a family practitioner as a GP (general practitioner) even though the two are different as described above. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM, PRACTITIONER?
Family practitioner comes from the Latin word "familia" meaning "household," and the Greek word "praktikos" meaning "practice." Put the two words together and you have "family practitioner."