Learn About Being a Physician in 2024

By | May 12, 2024

When you go to see a doctor, you’re likely going to be asked about your health. This is a common question, and it’s one that the doctor has a lot of answer to. A Physician can help you with anything from diagnosing diseases to prescribing medications. In fact, most doctors are experts in various medical fields. So if you have a health concern, or you just want to get some advice on what to do about it, a doctor is the best person to go see.

What Does a Physician Do? - Best School News

What Does a Physician Do?


Physicians are important people. They have a lot to offer patients, and they play an important role in our medical system. However, there are a few things you should expect when you go see a physician. First, they will likely ask about your health history and potential treatments. Second, they will likely establish an evaluation schedule for you and work with you to find the best course of action for your condition. Third, they may order tests or X-rays to help them diagnose your problem. Fourth, they may give you medication to help you feel better and treated your condition effectively. Fifth, they may refer you to other physicians or hospitals if they think your situation is more serious. Sixth, after treatment is provided and if there are any follow-up questions, the physician will likely visit you again.

What does a physician do?

Physicians are some of the most highly-paid professionals in the United States. They earn an average of $159,000 per year, and many earn much more. That’s because they work with patients to help them achieve their health goals. They also play a critical role in the development of new treatments and cures for diseases. In addition to their work in the hospital setting, physicians can also be found working in clinics, ambulatory care settings, and even in rural areas.

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A physician provides medical care and treatment for patients. Physicians, who may also be referred to as doctors or medical practitioners, treat physical, mental and emotional issues. They can specialize in a range of areas, which will determine what type of care and treatment they provide.

Some of the typical duties of a physician include:

  • Reviewing patients’ medical histories

  • Documenting findings and treatment plans in patient medical records

  • Performing physical and mental assessments on patients to diagnose medical conditions

  • Ordering and performing medical tests

  • Designing and recommending treatment plans

  • Addressing concerns and answering questions from patients

  • Reviewing test results

  • Prescribing medication

  • Performing surgery, closing wounds, setting broken bones and administering other medical procedures

Can a physician do surgery?

A doctor is a professional who surgeries. A surgeon is a person who performs surgery. Surgery is the process of cutting and manipulating parts of the body to correct problems. A physician can perform surgery, but a surgeon also needs help to plan and execute the surgery. That’s where a surgical team comes in.

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Surgery is one of the most common and important medical procedures. But it’s not always easy to find a qualified doctor to do surgery. In fact, only about one-third of patients who need surgery receive it. So how do you know if a doctor is qualified to do surgery?

Average salary

The salary for a physician depends on their area of specialty, type of employer, experience and location. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Average salary in the U.S.: $243,990 per year

  • Some salaries range from $48,000 to $453,000 per year.

Physician requirements

Working as a physician requires extensive education and training, regardless of the specialty or area of focus.


To work as a physician, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree and then attend medical school for four additional years. Most medical schools don’t have specific requirements for your undergraduate degree, although some of the more beneficial majors are biology, physics and chemistry. Earning high grades in your undergraduate education is generally a requirement to be accepted at a medical school. You also have to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before applying to medical schools.

When assessing your application, medical schools will consider your MCAT score, college grades, personality traits and extracurricular activities, including experience in a healthcare setting.


After completing medical school, you must undergo training in a formal residency program, which typically lasts three to eight years. During this period, you will be referred to as a resident and work under the supervision of a licensed physician. You will earn a salary, although it will be lower than what you can earn as a licensed, practicing physician. Certain medical specialties, such as surgery, require further training, called a fellowship.

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Physicians must also continue their education throughout their careers to maintain their licenses. Continuing education opportunities depend on the specialty. Options include attending medical conferences, reviewing materials online and staying current with the latest techniques and advancements.


Every physician must hold a state license, with requirements varying by state. All states require physicians to graduate from an accredited medical school, finish residency training in the specialty they plan to practice and pass practical and written exams. Additionally, a physician must pass a national standardized license exam. A medical doctor (M.D.) must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), while a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).

Physicians aren’t required to go through the board certification process to practice their specialty, although doing so may increase their employment opportunities. To become board-certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association, a physician must complete up to seven years in residency training and pass an exam. Surgeons may also have to present patient cases to the board to show their experience and abilities.


To succeed as a physician, you need to possess certain skills and abilities. These include:


Physicians regularly communicate with their patients and their caregivers or families, as well as with support staff members. They must be able to communicate effectively to outline medical concerns and health problems, in addition to recommending treatment plans.

Attention to detail

A physician must make sure their patients are receiving the proper medications and treatments. They may also monitor patients through ongoing treatments or surgeries, so being aware of all aspects of a situation is important.


Physicians are the leaders of the healthcare industry, often issuing directions to other members of the staff. The ability to lead others with confidence is vital to success.

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When interacting with patients, a physician must have patience, especially with those who are afraid of receiving medical treatment or seeing a doctor. Certain specialties may require more patience, such as pediatrics.


Physicians may interact with patients who are injured or sick, in distress or in great pain. They must treat all patients with understanding and compassion. This skill is often referred to as a physician’s bedside manner.

Physical dexterity and stamina

Surgeons often need to bend over a table for hours at a time, while other types of physicians may work long hours without breaks. In some cases, a physician may need to physically maneuver a patient, requiring stamina. Surgeons must have excellent dexterity to handle the tasks associated with performing surgery.


A physician must keep careful records of each patient’s diagnoses and treatment plans, so organizational skills are important. If a physician owns their own practice, they must also be organized enough to handle the work that comes with running a business.


The role of a physician is to evaluate a patient’s symptoms and determine what treatment is appropriate. To do this effectively, physicians must be able to solve problems, often quickly.

Physician work environment

Physicians can work in a variety of settings. Some work in hospitals, while others work in healthcare clinics. A physician may travel to other countries to provide medical services to those who would not receive them otherwise. The specialty of the physician can help determine where they work, as a surgeon will spend a majority of their working hours in an operating room, while a pediatrician is more likely to work in a healthcare clinic.

A physician’s specialty will also determine some of the physical factors associated with their work. Surgeons spend more time on their feet, bending and standing over operating tables, while other types of physicians may only walk from room to room to see each patient. Physicians need to utilize specialized equipment, such as stethoscopes, examination tools, operating equipment and other necessary items.

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The schedule for a physician also depends on their specialty. Emergency room doctors can work at any time, day or night. When on call, a surgeon or obstetrician may have to go into the hospital to see patients at all hours. Certain specialties have more set, stable hours.

How to become a physician

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.

You need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for medical school. You can choose what you want to study, although certain areas of focus might help increase your chances of being admitted. It’s also important to take courses in a variety of subjects to become well-rounded. During your education, look for opportunities to gain experience in a medical setting.

2. Take the MCAT.

The next step is taking the MCAT. You will need to earn a high score to get into a good medical school, although it’s not the only factor medical schools look at when accepting students.

3. Apply to medical schools.

After you complete the MCAT, you can submit applications to medical schools. Most students begin the application process during the summer before they begin their final year of college. The applications often require you to submit an essay, college transcript and resume.

4. Complete medical school.

When you are accepted into medical school, you will begin a four-year educational program. During this time, you will learn more about medical laws, ethics, human anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology and physiology. The program also focuses on various medical specialties, followed by clinical rotations to get hands-on experience.

5. Complete a medical residency.

Upon graduating from medical school, you will begin a residency program, which provides more on-the-job training for physicians. You will treat patients under the supervision of a licensed physician. The residency program may last three to eight years, depending on your specialty.

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6. Pass the medical licensing exam.

After finishing your residency, you need to take the national medical licensing exam to become a licensed physician. After receiving your medical license, you can legally begin seeing and treating patients in your chosen specialty.

7. Prepare your resume.

When applying for physician positions, you will need to include a resume that outlines your education and experience.

Physician job description example

Appalachian Medical Clinic is seeking a pediatrician to join the medical care team in our busy multispecialty clinic. Qualified candidates will have at least five years of experience, as well as a current, valid and unrestricted medical license. The position requires the completion of medical histories, physical exams, review of medical test results, assessment of health symptoms and recommendation of proper treatment plans. The pediatrician will join a team of three other pediatricians as well as a full clinical support staff. The pediatricians in this group share call, requiring each to be on call for seven to eight days per month.


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