General practitioner

A general practitioner


General practitioners promote health, prevent, identify ill health, diagnose and treat diseases and promote recovery of physical and mental illness and health disorders of all kinds for all persons regardless of their age, sex or type of health problem.

General practitioners typically do the following duties:

  • Conduct comprehensive medical examinations to assess patients’ overall health and identify any existing or potential medical issues.
  • Diagnose and treat common medical conditions, such as respiratory infections, minor injuries, and chronic illnesses.
  • Prescribe medications and treatments to manage symptoms and promote healing.
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as blood work, X-rays, and ultrasounds, to aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of medical conditions.
  • Provide preventative care, including vaccinations, screenings, and health education to promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention.
  • Manage chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, by monitoring patients’ progress and adjusting treatment plans as needed.
  • Offer counseling on lifestyle factors, including diet, exercise, and stress management, to improve overall health and prevent health problems.
  • Make referrals to specialists or other healthcare providers for further evaluation and treatment of complex medical conditions.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date medical records for each patient to ensure continuity of care and efficient communication with other healthcare providers.
  • Respond to medical emergencies and provide initial care and stabilization before transferring patients to the appropriate medical facility if needed.
  • Stay updated on medical advancements and best practices through continuing medical education and professional development.
  • Foster a trusting and respectful doctor-patient relationship by actively listening to patients’ concerns and addressing their medical needs with empathy and compassion.
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals, including nurses, pharmacists, and specialists, to provide comprehensive and coordinated patient care.
  • Educate patients about their medical conditions, treatment options, and potential side effects of medications.
  • Promote health screenings and preventive health measures to the community to improve overall public health.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to general practitioner:

general practice doctor
community health doctor
district medical therapist
junior doctor
district medical doctor
community doctor
resident medical officer specializing in general practice
medical doctor
pre-registration house officer
medical practitioner
general practitioner
doctor of medicine
general medical practitioner
medical officer
practice partner
trainee general practitioner
practice principal
house officer
general physician
locum doctor
family medical practitioner

Working conditions

General practitioners work in various healthcare settings, including private practices, clinics, community health centers, and hospitals. They may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate the needs of their patients. The work environment can be fast-paced, and GPs may encounter a diverse range of medical conditions and patient demographics. They must be available for on-call duties to respond to medical emergencies outside regular office hours.

Minimum qualifications

To become a general practitioner, individuals must complete a bachelor’s degree, followed by four years of medical school to obtain a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. After completing medical school, aspiring GPs must undergo a residency program in family medicine or another primary care specialty. Residency training typically lasts three years and provides hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating patients under the guidance of experienced physicians. After completing residency, general practitioners may choose to become board-certified by passing an examination from a relevant medical board. Continuing medical education is essential to stay current with medical advancements and maintain licensure.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

General practitioner is a Skill level 4 occupation.

General practitioner career path

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Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of general practitioner.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of general practitioner. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

2211 – Generalist medical practitioners

  1. General practitioner – ESCO
  2. What Is a General Practitioner? – WebMD
  3. Featured image: Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash
Last updated on August 28, 2023