1. Description

Medicine and Health Care

Internists are doctors who have a lot in common with general practitioners (GPs). Like GPs, many internists serve as primary care physicians, the doctors you might see when it’s time for your yearly checkup.

But internists spend more time training to specialize in a particular internal organ or system. For example, internists might specialize in the digestive system. In that case, they’d see a lot of patients with problems related to the stomach, liver, intestines, or other digestive organs. And they’d see those same patients for other problems, such as the flu.

Internists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the body's internal organs, but they also provide primary care for many of their patients. In addition, they refer patients to specialists, especially if they may need surgery.

Did You Know?

Along with tumor and cancer specialists, internists often diagnose and help to treat many types of cancer.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Spend years studying and training, and a lifetime keeping up with advances in medicine
  • Improve and save lives
  • Balance heavy workloads with your personal life
  • Work closely with other physicians and specialists

It Helps To Be...

A self-motivated, compassionate decision maker and a crack investigator. You’ll need to listen carefully as your patients describe their symptoms. What tests should you order? Should you refer them to a specialist? Other patients will be waiting, and you’ll need to decide quickly.

Make High School Count

  • Take plenty of challenging math and science classes including AP® courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus.
  • Enhance your communication skills through English composition, speech, and drama classes.
  • Sign up for psychology to learn about human nature and explore the mind-body connection.
  • Volunteer at a health clinic, hospital, women’s clinic, or eldercare facility.
  • Explore summer study programs like the University of Massachusetts' High School Health Careers Program.

Did You Know?

Internists can subspecialize in everything from pediatrics to sports medicine to cancer to heart disease.