Internal medicine vs. Family practice
Internal Medicine vs. Family Practice – Why Put Them in Opposition ?
Although it is not often heard, the expression internal medicine vs. family practice sounds like a confrontation, as if the two medical specialties were totally opposed to each other.
Internal Medicine vs. Family Practice - Are the Two so Different?
At first sight, most people have the tendency to confound the two specialties. From a certain point of view, their mistake is justified, because the two branches are very much alike. They both deal with serious and various illnesses, searching new ways of prevention and treatment.
Both specialties require hard work and difficult exams, before they can be actually practiced. Adequate training, certain skills and knowledge are also required in both medical branches. Their similarities go even further, but there are also a lot of differences worth taking into account.
That is precisely where the actual comparison – internal medicine vs. family practice – begins. The general conditions of work, the ways in which the patients are diagnosed and treated are quite different from one field to the other. More than that, the conceptions about the two specialties are, or at least were, very different.
Internal medicine was considered from the very beginning one of the most important medical branches, and those who practiced it were highly respected and rewarded with substantial financial benefits, as well as with the recognition of their professional value from the part of the entire medical community.
On the other hand, for a long time, family practice wasn’t even considered as a stand-alone specialty. And this, in spite of the fact that it was equally difficult to study and practice like in the case of internal medicine. Since the working conditions were harder and the financial compensations lower compared to other specialties, medicine students were often discouraged and chose different specializations.
Even if those who were initially attracted to the idea of pursuing this career eventually gave up in favor of a better financially rewarded specialty. It wasn’t long until the quality of the services in the field was significantly lowered compared to other fields.
Perhaps these contrasts were the ones standing at the base of the comparison under discussion – internal medicine vs. family practice. However, this could hardly be regarded as a rivalry between the two fields.
Internal Medicine vs Family Practice – A Separate Evaluation of Both
As it was just said, there are a lot of similarities and differences between the two. Let’s analyze them separately, in order to underline their elements better. Internal medicine is the part that studies, diagnoses and prevents different diseases affecting the adult human organism.
It is a complex process that involves both interacting directly with patients and also research work.
The interaction part takes place mainly in the hospital, where patients are kept under a strict and careful observation and monitoring process. Its purpose is to determine the cause of the illness, in order to establish the most effective way to cure it and, eventually, to eradicate it completely.
The research work implies studying the symptoms of these diseases and the factors causing them. The importance of this research is huge, because the results are then used to combat and prevent all the mentioned factors, before they can cause a considerable harm to the patient’s organism.
The other “category” referred to in the comparison of internal medicine vs. family practice has the same purpose of preventing and treating different illnesses, but with major differences.
First of all, the accent in case of family practice falls more on the collaboration between the physician and the patient. Everything is the result of the mutual trust between the two parties. The patient must be able to describe what he or she feels in an accurate way, in order for the doctor to determine a precise diagnose.
So, in the case of family practice, the main “tools” used by the physician are direct observation and the knowledge accumulated in the years of medical school. Unlike in the case of internal medicine, all the process takes place in an environment that is highly familiar for the patient, at the family doctor’s office or in the patient’s home.
Those are only few elements uniting and separating the two disciplines. However, the most important thing stands: internal medicine vs. family practice is about seeing the best parts of both.