Career Development

What Does a General Practitioner Do?

Find out what a general practitioner does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a general practitioner.

General practitioners (GPs) are medical doctors who provide primary care to patients of all ages. They’re often the doctor that people see for everything from routine checkups and immunizations to minor injuries or illnesses.

General practitioners may also be referred to as family physicians, general internists, or general medical practitioners. Regardless of what they’re called, their job is the same: to provide comprehensive healthcare services to patients of all ages in a variety of settings.

General Practitioner Job Duties

A GP typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Prescribing medication to patients for conditions that are not life threatening, including managing chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Conducting physical exams and taking medical histories of patients to evaluate their current health status
  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses in patients of all ages
  • Examining patients in order to diagnose their medical problems and determine appropriate treatment plans
  • Recommending lifestyle changes to improve health and prevent disease
  • Referring patients to specialists when necessary
  • Performing surgery as part of their job duties, such as removing benign growths or tumors or performing hernia repairs
  • Providing care for patients who have been hospitalized, including administering medication and ordering tests to monitor progress
  • Performing administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, processing insurance claims, and maintaining medical records

General Practitioner Salary & Outlook

General practitioners are paid a salary that varies depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of practice they have.

  • Median Annual Salary: $157,500 ($75.72/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $485,000 ($233.17/hour)

The employment of general practitioners is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

An aging population will lead to a greater need for generalists, particularly in rural areas and for medical specialties that serve older patients, such as geriatrics. However, the increasing cost of healthcare may cause some generalists to limit their practice to avoid treating patients who cannot afford their services.

Related: General Practitioner Interview Questions and Answers

General Practitioner Job Requirements

A general practitioner needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: General practitioners need to complete a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine, biology or another closely related field. After completing their undergraduate degree, these professionals need to earn a medical degree. To do so, they need to complete a four-year medical school program. During this time, they will study topics such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, radiology, microbiology and immunology.

After completing medical school, general practitioners need to complete a residency program. During this time, they will work under the supervision of experienced physicians in a hospital or clinic. They will learn how to diagnose and treat patients and how to communicate with patients and other medical professionals.

Training & Experience: After graduating from medical school, a general practitioner will complete a residency program. Residency programs are typically three years long and allow medical school graduates to gain practical experience in a medical specialty. During a residency program, a general practitioner will work under the supervision of a practicing physician. They will also have the opportunity to work with patients under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Certifications & Licenses: All general practitioners must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). You can check a doctor’s registration status by searching the GMC’s online register.

You can apply for registration with the GMC once you have completed your residency. To apply, you need to submit proof of your education, training and experience, and pass an exam.

General Practitioner Skills

General practitioners need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: General practitioners communicate with patients, other medical professionals and patients’ families. They must be able to explain medical conditions and treatment plans in a way that patients understand. They also need to be able to listen to patients’ concerns and answer their questions. General practitioners often work with other medical professionals, such as surgeons, to coordinate patient care.

Empathy: General practitioners often need empathy to help patients feel comfortable and confident in their treatment plans. Empathy can also help general practitioners understand their patients’ needs and concerns, which can help them provide better care.

Time management: General practitioners often have to manage their time effectively to meet the needs of their patients. This may mean scheduling appointments, performing examinations and procedures and communicating with patients about their health. General practitioners may also have to manage their time to complete administrative tasks, such as filling out paperwork or entering data into a medical database.

Organization: General practitioners often have strong organizational skills, as they often have many tasks to complete in a short period of time. This can include managing patient files, scheduling appointments and performing physical examinations. General practitioners often have to prioritize their tasks and complete them in the correct order to ensure they provide the best care for their patients.

Medical knowledge: General practitioners need to have a strong understanding of medical procedures and practices. They need to be able to diagnose and treat patients with a variety of conditions and ailments. General practitioners need to be able to understand and apply medical procedures and treatments to patients. They also need to be able to interpret medical test results and make informed decisions about treatment options.

General Practitioner Work Environment

General practitioners work in a variety of settings, including private offices, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. They usually work a forty-hour week, although they may be on call for emergencies. They also may have to work evenings and weekends to meet the needs of their patients. General practitioners must be able to deal with the stress of making life-and-death decisions, working long hours, and being on call. They must also be able to deal with the emotional stress of dealing with sick and dying patients and their families.

General Practitioner Trends

Here are three trends influencing how general practitioners work. General practitioners will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of Telehealth

The rise of telehealth is a trend that is quickly changing the way that healthcare is delivered. By using technology to connect patients with doctors and other health professionals, telehealth allows for more convenient and accessible care.

General practitioners can take advantage of this trend by becoming certified in telehealth services. This will allow them to provide care to patients who are unable to visit the office in person, such as those who live in rural areas or who have difficulty getting around. In addition, general practitioners can use telehealth to connect with other professionals, such as therapists and nurses, to provide better care for their patients.

Patient Engagement Becomes More Important

As patient engagement becomes more important in healthcare, general practitioners will need to develop new skills and strategies to keep up with the changing landscape.

One of the most important trends in patient engagement is the move towards shared decision making. This means that patients are increasingly involved in decisions about their care, which puts a greater responsibility on general practitioners to communicate effectively with them.

In order to be successful in this environment, general practitioners will need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, as well as understand the needs of their patients. They will also need to be able to find ways to make medical care more accessible and understandable for patients.

How to Become a General Practitioner

A career as a general practitioner (GP) offers many opportunities for growth and development. As a GP, you can specialize in areas such as family medicine, geriatrics, or women’s health. You can also choose to work in rural or urban settings, or in a clinic or hospital setting.

No matter which path you choose, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest medical developments and trends. This can be done by reading journals and attending continuing education courses. It is also important to build relationships with other healthcare professionals, so that you can collaborate on patient care.

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance in the field of medicine, but one of the best is to specialize. Specializing in a particular area of medicine allows doctors to become experts in that field and to provide the best possible care to their patients. General practitioners who wish to specialize can do so by completing a residency program in their chosen specialty. Residency programs typically last four years, although some programs may be shorter or longer. After completing a residency program, doctors may choose to pursue a fellowship, which is an additional training program that lasts one to two years. Fellowships are not required for most specialties, but they can provide doctors with additional training and experience.

General Practitioner Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide comprehensive primary care services to patients of all ages. We are looking for a General Practitioner (GP) to join our team. The GP will be responsible for providing medical care to patients, including physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, and prescribing medication. The GP will also provide counseling on lifestyle changes, disease prevention, and health promotion. The ideal candidate will be a team player with excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Provide high-quality patient care in a confidential and professional manner
  • Adhere to the ethical and legal standards of the medical profession
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of advances in medicine and treatments
  • Prescribe medication and other treatment options for patients
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and blood work
  • Examine patients and make diagnoses
  • Refer patients to specialists or other practitioners when necessary
  • Provide counseling and support to patients and their families
  • Keep detailed medical records
  • Participate in continuing education and training opportunities
  • Serve on committees and boards related to the medical field
  • Supervise and train medical students, residents, and other staff members

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in medicine, health science, or related field
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree
  • Completion of a 3-year residency program in an accredited hospital
  • Current license to practice medicine in the state of employment
  • Board certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience working in a private medical practice
  • Familiarity with electronic medical records (EMR) systems
  • Ability to speak more than one language
  • Specialty board certification


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