Family vs. general healthcare practitioner: dynamic careers in 2021

The moment you plan on visiting a doctor, a list of names and their specialties appear before you. Countless medical professionals and their used terminologies might confuse you. Fields and subfields are now introducing almost every other month to cater to increasing concerns and population. People must have a clear idea of whom to consult when in need of help. Thus, we will agree that this profession is an extensive and diversified one amongst others.

We all have heard about the terms’ Family Health Care Practitioner’ and ‘General Health Care Practitioner.’ Many often use these words while referring to the same doctor. However, that is not the case. They are similar in some ways but different in others. Before diving into their differences, let us first define the two terms.


A family practitioner takes care of the medical needs of every member of the family. Their practice is independent of the age and the gender of the patient. Family practitioners do not only treat medical problems, but they also ensure that long-term wellness and health.

Family doctors have a lot of responsibilities, like helping their patients understand how to prevent chronic diseases. They are also responsible for taking good care of your emotional and physical needs. For this reason, they may call for interventions and counseling sessions. They can also prescribe over the counter medications for common flu and other illnesses. If you want to ensure that your child is experiencing adequate growth, family practitioners will guide you.


The first person you will come across for the flu or feverish condition would be a general healthcare practitioner. The general practitioner’s appointment usually lasts for ten minutes. In the session, he will assess your situation and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

The roles of a general practitioner are not limiting to referring the patients to a specialist. He can diagnose and treat illnesses. He can also conduct minor surgeries on the patients. They can also perform tests, for example, blood tests to diagnose the disease. If the condition is critical, they can provide emergency care to the patient.


It is an excellent practice to have personal doctors. It increases our chances of monitoring our health and treating any disease before time. People now refer widely to these two professionals under discussion. Many aspire to become one. Hence, the following information will be beneficial in two ways. Those looking for a career out of it will find specific and informative content to select wisely for themselves. At the same time, others will make an informed choice if a need arises.


The family practitioner has to have a bachelor’s in science subjects. He then has to enroll in a medical college and earn a Doctor of Medicine (D.O.M). It is usually a four-year program. During the first half, students focus on theoretical studies. Whereas in the last two years, the students work in hospitals and treat patients in hospitals. After earning the degrees, he has to complete his residency program.

To practice medicine, a family practitioner should have a license. The license proves your credibility. In the end, he has to earn certifications. For example, a graduate with an associate degree in nursing can obtain the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Certification. These certification exams are difficult to pass. Students often enroll in family nurse practitioner online programs to offer a better patient-care experience. The qualifications of a general practitioner include a bachelor’s degree in science subjects. A five-year degree in medicine and two-three years of training is mandatory. After that, they complete four to five years of specialized training in general practice. Like the family practitioner, they also have to obtain a license to practice medicine.


The family practitioner caters to the medical needs of individuals of a family. They take care of people belonging to every age group. In addition to the general health care facilities, they specialize in other areas such as pediatrics, gynecology, and orthopedic. Family practitioners often develop long-term relationships with their patients.

Whereas the general practitioner also caters to the medical needs of people of any age group. But they do not specialize in different fields of medicine.

They are known as primary health care providers. A person can visit a general practitioner for the treatment of acute disease. They will not be able to treat chronic conditions and will refer you to a specialist. For example, a patient with a cold will get medicine. Similarly, a patient with headache, nausea, and other symptoms will get a blood test prescription.


Since a family doctor takes care of a patient all his life, his main goal is to ensure positive lifestyles. He encourages his patient to become physically and mentally healthy and help them to prevent many chronic diseases. The family doctors believe that prevention is better than cure.

The general doctor focuses on the treatment of the disease. They treat minor illnesses. If the patient has a life-threatening disease, they prefer to let a specialist handle the case. The general doctor develops a relationship with other doctors so that he can ask for their opinion.


The family practitioners follow the usualforty hoursof work per week. They can have their private clinics or work with other doctors in hospitals. Family practitioners do not have on-call duties. Although, they can make an exception in case of an emergency. Family practitioners have regular patients. Each patient has a separate file in their log. These files have to be updated from time to time. The practitioners take some time off from their day for documentation. It helps them to stay on track with their patients. In some cases, it also helps them to predict diseases that they can inherit.

A general practitioner can have a five-day working week. However, it is unusual. They work in clinical settings, so they have long working hours. Sometimes even a twelve-hour shift. Since they have house visits, they are always one call away. These clinics keep the record of patients. In contrast to the family physician, they do not have regular patients. They can see a lot of patients in a day.

CONCLUSION: The family doctor and general doctor both have their differences. When choosing a doctor for yourself or a loved one, ensure you understand the differences. It will help you in selecting the right doctor. But remember that both work to help their patients live a happy and healthy life. Both types of doctors ensure that their patients receive the best care.