From Dream to Reality: The Study Path to Becoming a Family and General Practitioner
To become a family doctor or general practitioner (GP), you will need to complete a course of study that includes an undergraduate degree, medical school, and a residency program.
The undergraduate degree that is required to enter medical school is typically a Bachelor of Science (BS) in pre-med or a related field such as biology or chemistry. During this time, students will take courses such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology to prepare them for medical school.
Once you've completed an undergraduate degree, you will need to attend medical school. Medical school typically takes four years to complete and includes both classroom instruction and clinical training. During this time, students will take courses such as anatomy, pathology, and pharmacology, and will also complete rotations in various specialties such as surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics.
After completing medical school, you will need to complete a residency program. A family medicine residency is a three-year program that provides training in the full spectrum of primary care for patients of all ages. During this time, residents will work with patients in a variety of settings, such as clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes, to gain hands-on experience in providing comprehensive care.
The curriculum of a family medicine residency program typically includes:
- Patient care: Residents gain experience in treating patients with common illnesses, providing preventive care, and managing chronic conditions.
- Obstetrics: Residents gain experience in providing care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
- Behavioral medicine: Residents learn how to identify and manage mental health conditions.
- Geriatrics: Residents learn how to provide care to older adults, including managing chronic conditions and addressing end-of-life care.
- Pediatrics: Residents learn how to provide care to infants, children, and teenagers.
Residents also complete rotations in various specialties such as surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics, to gain exposure to different areas of medicine and to prepare them for the broad scope of practice of family medicine.
Alternatively, a general practice residency is a shorter program, and it's not mandatory to have this type of training in order to become a GP.
After completing the family medicine residency program, graduates may be eligible for certification or licensure as a family physician. This typically requires passing an exam and meeting other requirements such as continuing medical education.
It's worth noting that the specific requirements for each step of the process may vary depending on the country or region you are in. Additionally, some countries have different systems of postgraduate education in general practice or family medicine, and there are different certification and diploma options that may not be considered as a Master's degree.
It's always a good idea to check the website of the school or program you're interested in, to get more information on specific requirements, curriculum, and the admission process. You can also contact the program's admissions office for more information.