General Medicine

Doctors in general internal medicine are trained to manage patients presenting with a wide range of acute and long term medical conditions and symptoms.

This page provides useful information on the nature of the work, the common procedures/interventions, sub-specialties and other roles that may interest you.

Nature of the work

Doctors working in general internal medicine (GIM) have particular expertise in diagnostic reasoning, managing uncertainty, dealing with co-morbidities (complex medical problems involving multiple symptoms and conditions) and recognising when specialty opinion or care is required.

The work involves:

  • diagnosing and treating the wide spectrum of medical disorders that present acutely to hospital emergency departments and acute medical units, referring for specialist opinion and care as appropriate.
  • providing advice and care for patients admitted to hospital under other specialties (e.g. surgery, obstetrics & gynaecology) who have or develop medical problems.
  • diagnosing and treating the wide spectrum of medical conditions that are referred to medical outpatient clinics.
  • managing inpatients and outpatients with co-morbidities, including elderly patients with frailty and dementia.

Doctors specialising in GIM are part of the acute medical care workforce, which includes those who practise acute medicine, geriatrics and other ‘physicianly specialties’ such as gastroenterology, diabetes and endocrinology, respiratory medicine, cardiology, renal medicine and rheumatology.

Most doctors who practise GIM are also trained in another physicianly specialty or sub-specialty. Some physicians may also combine GIM with academic research or a non-clinical role.