For detailed information about becoming a general physician, please visit the Royal Australasian College of Physicians website: http://www.racp.edu.au/page/specialty/general-medicine
General physicians (or a specialist in internal medicine) are specialist physicians with expertise in the diagnosis and management of complex, chronic and multisystem disorders. They are able to co-ordinate patient care and work within the multidisciplinary team to optimise health outcomes for individuals and groups. The general physician has a breadth of expertise. which spans acute hospital and ambulatory care settings. Their work is not limited by patient age, diagnostic category or treatment intent. Notable rewards include the privilege of being able to offer whole person care to the same individual at different times, for different conditions with many clinical scenarios requiring the expert use of a high level biopsychosocial approach.
General physicians ensure the delivery of efficient, cost-effective and safe care for the community and their expertise is particularly needed in remote and rural areas where there are very few organ-system subspecialists. General physicians also practice in many niche areas such as peri-operative medicine, obstetric medicine, acute stroke medicine, clinical pharmacology, palliative care and acute care of the elderly. General physicians also contribute to workforce development and are leaders in medical education and health policy formulation.
Academic and research opportunities also exist within general medicine particularly in the areas of clinical epidemiology and health systems performance.
More recently, acute care medicine is evolving as a distinct entity within general medicine. Training in acute general medicine prepares the physician to assume a consultant role in undifferentiated acute medical admissions services. This may be in the setting of an acute medical unit (AMU) or medical assessment and planning unit (MAPU). At present, trainees seeking to develop skills to work as an acute care medicine physician are encouraged to follow the training guidelines as outlined in this document. Further advice and guidance will be provided as it is developed by the Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) in General and Acute Care Medicine and the Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (IMSANZ).