Diabetes, hypertension, and colds and flu are some of the issues internists may treat and help manage on a regular basis. Often internists may consult with specialists or refer the patient to see a more specialized physician if a serious or acute issue arises. Internists typically do not perform surgeries, although they may sometimes perform some minor office procedures such as mole removal, stress tests, or scopes. Typically internists perform physicals, manage illnesses through diet, medication, and other non-invasive methods.
Due to the broad scope of their work, internists have many options of where to work and how their work is structured. Internists may work in medical offices, clinics, and hospitals, often in combination. An internist may work independently as a solo practitioner, owning and managing his or her own practice, or an internist may partner with other physicians to form a group practice in which the doctors each have partial ownership. Or, some internists may be employed as salaried staff by a clinic or hospital.
Typical office hours are about 8 am to 5 pm, 4 to 5 days per week. The average internist will see about 22-25 patients or more each day during those clinic/office hours. In addition to clinic hours, an internist may also see patients in a hospital on daily rounds, or on an on-call basis. This could add 5-15+ hours per week of work, depending on the patient load and need of the hospital.