Medical specialists go through additional training, known as a fellowship, after completing medical school and a residency in order to become very knowledgeable about a specific part of the human body or a specific type of disease. They have at least two to three years of extra training, above and beyond the basic medical school curriculum, in their specific field, and they will continually research progress in their field. In the medical profession they often function as consultants, either for private practice or employed by a hospital. Typically, a general practitioner or other primary care provider will see the patient first, and if presented with a patient who needs more specialized treatment or advanced diagnosis the specialist is called in to examine the patient. The philosophy behind this approach is that the average patient will not need a specialist, so specialists do not usually see them first, but wait until specifically asked. This system has the benefit of not requiring general internists to have incredibly specific knowledge of all medical matters, an impossible feat, but allows them to delegate responsibility to those with more specific knowledge when the situation calls for it.
Specialties by country
In the United States, there are currently 24 certified specialties with the numerous sub-specialties. The American Board of Medical Specialties is the entity that oversees certification.
- Army Medical Specialist Corps
- An example of the use of the term Physician What are Physicians? at The Royal Australian College of Physicians
Health science > Medicine
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