The role of a doctor can vary somewhat based on whether you are a general practitioner or a specialist working with children or certain health conditions. However, several common duties and tasks fit the description of most physicians. To become a doctor, you need a strong commitment to learning as you will need a medical degree and a few years of internships and residencies before getting fully licensed.
Acquiring a patient's medical history and updating medical records are common tasks for doctors. When a new patient comes into your practice, he typically transfers over records from a previous physician. During an initial visit, a doctor might ask questions to get to know the patient's history more personally and to identify any potential gaps in the history or records. During the initial visit and in follow-ups, doctors update records, either personally or through a nurse, with new diagnoses, test results and treatments.
Test and Diagnosis
The first key duty of a doctor in the patient care process is to assess, test and diagnose conditions. The medical profession has emphasized more preventative appointments and testing as of 2013 to protect against development of illness and disease. This includes health and wellness check-ups and blood screens. Additionally, when patients come in with symptoms, the doctor must evaluate them, conduct tests and determine what, if any, medical conditions exist.
Once a medical condition is found, the duties of a doctor shift to patient treatment and care. In more routine situations, this may involve scheduling follow-up visits to recheck symptoms or to monitor patient progress in recovery. Doctors also commonly prescribe medications and therapies for basic care. In more extreme cases or when specialized health needs exist, doctors might refer a patient to a specialist for further exams or treatment.
Doctors also play an advisory role to patients. Patients often call their doctor's office looking for advice or guidance in treating basic health issues. In these cases, the doctor may suggest simple home remedies, a wait-and-see approach or a visit. While patients are in the office, the doctor fields and answers questions and may also provide basic health maintenance advice, such as fitness and diet or hygiene information.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.