General medicine

A general practitioner treats more than only colds.


General medicine is often underestimated: Many believe that a general practitioner is only responsible for colds, hoarseness and trivialities.

The opposite is the case: ideally, the general practitioner is the primary point of contact for any type of illness, be it physical or psychological. This requires a wide range of knowledge as well as empathy and social competence, because general medicine lays the focus on the entire person.

You can compare it to football: There are goalkeepers, defenders, strikers, etc. (equivalent to “specialists”) and everyone knows their field very well. The general practitioner corresponds most closely to the midfielder and sees the whole playground globally.

If certain more specific examinations are necessary, you can or must be referred to a specialist. The general practitioner afterwards then relates all different test results.

He treats acute as well as chronic illnesses, is trained in the prevention of illnesses as well as the support of long-term patients as well as in rehabilitation. It is not uncommon for entire families to be patients of a general practitioner over their lifetime, in whom they naturally also build a special trust. Knowing the family structure, knowing which professions the patient is active in, knowing their hobbies and preferences as well as their weaknesses, paints an overall picture of the person concerned. This requires empathy as well as the ability to guide a patient and to adequately explain to him why he should take which measures. In other words, the focus here is on close communication with the patient. In this respect, general medicine is perhaps the most humane. A general practitioner learns new things every day, also about his patients, and is closest to the cutting edge.

Even if a patient has visited different specialists, it is often an advantage if the general practitioner puts the relevant test results into the right context. The human being does not just consist of his organs. The psychological components of the patient must be taken into account, and it is of no use to anyone if technical examinations do not produce any results, but the patient is still doing badly. Health is not just defined by the absence of illness, but by well-being. Here, too, general practitioners are often the first to suspect psychosomatic causes or who improve the general condition of the patient with vitamin infusions.

As a general practitioner, one has to be able to deal with acute situations as well as chronic illnesses, accompany patients on the possibly long journey to recovery and involve relatives when the life of a loved one is coming to an end. These are difficult interpersonal situations that require special empathy on the part of the general practitioner. Standing by the patient’s side and, if necessary, also being their lawyer is another challenge.

Before the right therapy, God has set the right diagnosis and it sometimes takes some time to get there. Not giving up, instead researching until you have really found the cause of the patient’s discomfort, is one of the great challenges of general medicine. Here it is important to question yourself as a doctor, to continue to educate yourself, also on an interdisciplinary basis and seek advice if necessary.

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