Our internist or generalist is a doctor specialised in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases. He is hence a qualified physician with a postgraduate training in internal medicine.
Skilled in the care of patients who suffer from undifferentiated or multi-system disease processes, internists also care for hospitalised and ambulatory patients. Many of them are furthermore deeply involved and actively engaged in teaching and research. As internal medicine patients are often gravely ill and require strict care and complex investigations, the working environment of internists is mainly reduced to hospitals. Internists often specialise in diseases that affect particular organs.
After completion of entry-level training, medical practitioners are required to undertake a period of supervised practice before registration is granted. This takes usually one or two years. This period may be referred to as internship, conditional registration, or foundation programme. Thereafter, doctors follow specialty training in internal medicine, as they are selected to training programmes through competition. Residency training for internal medicine usually lasts three years.