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What does a
Physician do?

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Other common names for this position: Specialist Physician, General Practice Physician, General Practitioner (GP), General Pathologist, Doctor, Doctor of Medicine (MD), Medical Doctor, Medical Practitioner, Medical Examiner, Clinician, Family Physician, Family Doctor, Family Practitioner, Child Specialist, Pediatrician, Company Physician, Industrial Physician, Primary Care Physician, Emergency Physician, Infectious Disease Physician, Nuclear Physician, Public Health Physician, Community Health Physician, Occupational Health Physician (OHP), Sports Medicine Physician, Allergist, Anesthesiologist, Cardiologist, Cardiology Specialist, Dermatologist, Endocrinologist, Gastroenterologist, Geriatrician, Gynecologist, Hematologist, Immunologist, Infertility Specialist, Laryngologist, Lung Specialist, Physiologist, Neonatologist, Nephrologist, Nerve Specialist, Neurologist, Oculist, Oncologist, Pediatric Oncologist, Ophthalmologist, Orthopedist, Otolaryngologist, Pneumologist, Radiologist, Radio-Oncologist, Respiratory Disease Specialist, Rheumatologist, Rhinologist, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist, Urologist, Anatomical Pathologist, Autopsy Pathologist, Forensic Pathologist, Clinical Pathologist, Surgeon, Surgical Physician, Surgical Pathologist, General Surgeon, Cardiac Surgeon, Neurological Surgeon, Vascular Surgeon, Orthopedic Surgeon, Pediatric Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgeon, Esthetic Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon, Medical Microbiologist


Physicians prevent, diagnose, and treat various diseases and injuries in order to improve their patients’ overall health. They are essentially divided into two groups of health practitioners: MDs (Medical Doctors) and DOs (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Although they receive the same education and they are both academically prepared to perform surgeries, the way they assist patients, as well as their training, are slightly different.

MDs are experts in allopathic medicine, which is in charge of establishing the appropriate treatment for a specific disease. They offer their services in hospitals, schools, state institutions, or in their personal offices. They usually perform scientific research and publish their findings in medical journals.

On the other hand, DOs focus on hands-on manual medicine and the body’s musculoskeletal system. They believe that the proper manipulation of the human musculature and body allows patients to systemically heal. They don’t study specific symptoms, but the patient as a whole. Due to the nature of their job, DOs spend a lot of time working directly with people. Therefore, they assist patients in internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, and general surgery.

Likewise, when Physicians decide to specialize in a specific branch of medicine, they become Medical Specialists. These professionals diagnose and treat specific illnesses and health issues related to their field of expertise (e.g. cardiology, pneumology, radiology, or oncology), sometimes acting as consultants to other Physicians.

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Physicians are required to complete.

  • Reviewing patients’ medical history and medications, as well as identifying and listing their symptoms:
  • Coordinating with any other Physician the patient might be seeing.
  • Diagnosing diseases, injuries, and other health disorders:
  • Conducting routine checkups and/or physical examinations;
  • conducting or ordering tests (e.g. laboratory tests, ultrasounds, electrocardiograms, and x-rays); and
  • operating and monitoring medical equipment.
  • Prescribing and administering appropriate treatments (e.g. medication, surgery, diet, and/or exercise), in accordance with diagnoses, and referring the patient to a Medical Specialist for further examination and/or treatment, as needed:
  • Providing anesthesia prior to performing and/or assisting in routine surgery or referring patients to a more specialized Surgeon, as needed; and
  • providing medical assistance to patients in cases of emergency.
  • Ensuring patients follow treatments and that there’s improvement in their health condition:
  • Instructing and counseling patients and their relatives, educating them on the disease and its proper care;
  • monitoring patients’ conditions closely by maintaining records and assigning Nurses to look after them;
  • updating patients’ histories and charts while they’re being treated; and
  • making changes in the line of treatment if the condition doesn’t improve.
  • Managing an interdisciplinary health team and instructing them on how to implement, coordinate, and evaluate patient care.
  • Complying with safety standards at all times, taking precaution measures to avoid infection and contamination.
  • Participating in health promotion and disease prevention programs, sometimes being involved in lectures and conferences.
  • Staying up-to-date on medical researches and findings.
  • In some cases, taking part in budget preparation and other financing business related activities.

Daily Tasks

  • Diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries, and other health disorders by conducting routine checkups and/or physical examinations.
  • Prescribing and administering appropriate treatments, in accordance with diagnoses.
  • Instructing and counseling patients and their relatives.
  • Maintaining accurate and detailed patient records, monitoring changes in patients’ condition, and making changes in the line of treatment if the condition doesn’t improve.
  • Managing an interdisciplinary health team and instructing them on how to implement, coordinate, and evaluate patient care.

The average Physician salary in USA is $56,296 per year or $29 per hour. This is around 2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $39,000 while most experienced workers make up to $79,000. These results are based on 6,733 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary56,296.12 $
Federal Income Tax- 7,292.78 $
Social Security- 3,490.36 $
Medicare- 816.29 $
State Income Tax- 2,808.90 $
Total Tax- 14,408.33 $
Net Pay*41,887.79 $
In New York, USA, if you make 56,296.12 $ a year, you will be taxed 14,408.33 $. That means that your take home pay will be 41,887.79 $ per year, or 3,490.65 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 25.59% and your marginal tax rate is 39.10%.
* Deductions are calculated based on the tables of New York, USA income tax.
Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, leadership, and counselling skills:
  • Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a comforting and transparent environment with patients and their relatives, providing answers to their questions and addressing their concerns;
  • displaying strong customer service skills, setting high standards of patient care and safety, treating every patient with dignity and respect; and
  • being able to manage efficiently and work cohesively as part of an interdisciplinary team, dealing with a diverse group of people, always conveying a positive image and building positive relationships with others.
  • Strong sense of empathy, compassion, and altruism:
  • Demonstrating sensitivity to individual needs of patients;
  • being patient and empathetic when dealing with patients that are in pain; and
  • displaying an inherent ability to make others feel cared about.
  • Exceptional ability to work under pressure in challenging settings:
  • Having strong multitasking skills; being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities in order to manage a high volume of work/patient flow;
  • being exceptionally flexible and able to deal with a broad variety of parameters and changing demands in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
  • remaining calm and professional during times of critical needs; and
  • being able to face emotionally demanding situations.
  • Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
  • Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner using critical thinking and good judgment; and
  • being able to analyze, assess, and diagnose the patient’s condition in order to provide him with the proper treatments.
  • High levels of manual dexterity, physical strength, and motor coordination:
  • Displaying exceptional attention to detail and good hand skills, having outstanding hand-eye coordination;
  • being able to lift disabled patients when necessary; and
  • being able to use medical/technical equipment in an accurate and meticulous manner.
  • Exceptional professionalism and strong work ethic.
  • Great sense of dedication, commitment, responsibility and reliability.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the use of basic computer applications, as well as the ability to work in an electronic medical record (EMR) environment.

Aside from the skills listed above, Physicians must have earned a bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Biology, or Health Science, passed the Medical College Admissions Test (MCATs), gotten a Medical degree at an accredited university, as well as a specialty post-graduate residency and accreditation, which can last from 3 to 5 years.

An accredited specialty residency training program in their designated field of expertise is usually preferred, considering Physicians without residency training are usually required to work in a different health area and their employment chances are more limited – compared to those who have completed such training. Other positions might require up to 7 years of experience working in their designated field, having mastered specific medical techniques.

Moreover, additional licenses are always required and will vary according to the Physician’s location and specialization. However, they are commonly requested to have at least one (1) year of residency and to pass a board certification exam. MDs take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), while DOs take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).

Although certifications are not mandatory, they will always increase applicants’ opportunities to get a job. The duration of a certification residency will depend on the specialty aspirants are working on. Moreover, when following this track, it is necessary to pass an examination issued either by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).

It is the Physician’s responsibility to take the courses and tests that are necessary to keep these licenses valid along with any necessary post-graduate credits.

Physicians also need to demonstrate sound clinical and practical knowledge of medical procedures, equipment, and tools, including medical terminology and medications. They must also comply with current medical principles and policies, along with established procedures and methods, legislations and regulations, as well as health and safety standards.

Physicians’ work is also emotionally challenging; hence, they must demonstrate exceptional stress management skills. Since the emergency medical service operates on a 24/7 basis and all work is carried out in planned shifts and/or call schedules, Physicians may be required to work flexible schedules, including regular and irregular hours, such as evenings, weekends, and national holidays.

Job Offers
There are currently available job offers for the Physician position on . Below is a list of available jobs, based on USA's most populated metropolitan areas.