Internists can choose to focus their practice on general internal medicine or take additional training to “subspecialize” in additional areas of internal medicine. The 13 subspecialties of internal medicine that internists can subspecialize in after medical school include:
Allergy and immunology
Endocrinology (diabetes and other glandular disorders)
Gastroenterology (colon and intestinal tract)
Geriatrics (care of the elderly)
The training an internist receives to subspecialize in a particular medical area is both broad and deep. Subspecialty training (often called a “fellowship”) usually requires an additional one to three years beyond the standard three year general internal medicine residency.
Internists care for the whole patient
Although subspecialists concentrate on a specific area, their background in internal medicine also allows them to bring to patients an understanding of wellness (disease prevention and the promotion of health), women’s health, substance abuse, mental health, as well as effective treatment of common problems of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system and reproductive organs.
Caring for you for life
In today’s complex medical environment, internists take pride in caring for their patients for life — in the office or clinic, during hospitalization and intensive care, and in nursing homes. When other medical specialists, such as surgeons or obstetricians, are involved, they coordinate their patient’s care and manage difficult medical problems associated with that care. In fact, they so often serve as medial consultants to physicians in other specialties that they’ve earned the nickname “the doctor’s doctor.”