What is a General Practitioner?
A general practitioner, also sometimes referred to as a generalist or “GP” for short, is a medical professional that provides routine, often preventative, health care. This in direct contrast to a medical specialist, doctors who specialize in one particular area of medicine (e.g., cardiologist, dermatologist, obstetrician). Like all other doctors, general practitioners are licensed and completed medical school as well as a residency program.
General practitioners are trained to treat patients of varying ages. As such, they are commonly known to most as family doctors or primary care physicians who provide routine check-ups and can serve a patient from infancy to old age. These doctors diagnose and treat chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure), common health maladies (e.g., flu, strep throat), as well as other non-life-threatening health conditions. When experiencing a medical emergency that is life-threatening, patients should seek the emergency room, rather than a generalist.
The Role of a General Practitioner
Routine Check-Ups and Diagnosing Illnesses
General practitioners are often the first point of contact when addressing a health concern and identifying medical issues. Their unique training and nature of their practice allow them to have a longstanding relationship with their patients, making general practitioners very well positioned to provide the most accurate and best-suited medical guidance. In the instance where a general practitioner is treating new patients for the first time, their broad knowledge of how age, biological, and psychological factors intersect are crucial to understanding the “big picture” of a patient’s health.
Issuing Referrals for Specialists
General practice doctors conduct routine patient check-ups and diagnose ailments, prescribe medication, and serve as a consult for a patient’s general medical concerns. If a patient requires more specialized knowledge or is facing a life-threatening medical condition, general practitioners are the first point of contact before more advanced medical action is taken. It is at this point that specialists are consulted. However, most specialists require patients to have referrals from general practitioners before they admit them. In some cases, specialists will refer patients to other specialists, even in these instances, the general practitioner must be consulted and provide a referral.
General Practitioner Services
The licensed and experienced general practitioners at UrgentMED are available seven days a week to provide routine health maintenance or urgent (non-life threatening) care. This includes examinations such as school physicals which students may need to join sports teams; pre-employment clearance, and pre-operative clearance.
Diagnostic testing is also overseen by general practice doctors, who can conduct EKGs, test for strep throt, tuberculosis and STDs while also authorizing x-rays for detailed assessments. UrgentMED offers both an in-house lab for the quickest turnaround time in relaying result findings.
School physicals and synonymous with annual medical exams are typically required for children when entering any public school system. School physicals ensure that children are current with their vaccinations to minimize the spread of serious diseases. The requirements vary from state to state, but the ultimate purpose is always the same. According to California law, to enroll a child in school (either for the first time or to transfer to a new school) it is required that the child is immunized and that proof of immunization can be provided.
It is important to note that school physicals are different from sports physicals. Sports physicals determine that a child has no pre-existing injuries or congenital abnormalities that could be aggravated if engaged in sports. These types of physicals are voluntary and only necessary when a child desires to participate in organized sports. Sports physical assessments focus on height and weight, assessing vision and hearing, as well as confirming that heart health, blood pressure, and other vital statistics are normal.
Labor intensive employers (e.g., miners or construction workers) or government agencies (e.g., police officers, firefighters, government officials) often require medical examinations as pre-employment clearance. Pre-employment clearance consists of a basic checkup and physical exam to give the employer a better picture of your health status to verify that you are physically capable of performing your job duties. UrgentMED clinics can provide fast pre-employment health assessments on a walk-in basis.
The evaluations performed at UrgentMED are used in conjunction with the requirements from referring specialists to clear patients for surgery. Preoperative evaluations are a type of examination that identifies an individual’s risk factors before going into surgery. That means that any likelihood for cardiac or infectious complications are determined beforehand to better inform the practicing surgeon of any difficulties they may encounter.
The information from a preoperative consultation is vital to both surgeons and anesthesiologists and should not take place at the last minute. UrgentMED can provide pre-operative clearance with little to no waiting time and on a walk-in basis.
Find a General Practitioner Near You
General practitioners often work in single private practices with a handful of nurses and other medical staff. However, it is not unusual to find general practitioners working within medical institutions such as hospitals or walk-in clinics like UrgentMED. For general practitioners that don’t require an appointment or insurance, visit the doctors at these 14 convenient UrgentMED locations.
If you need urgent care, an examination, diagnostic testing, or a routine check-up on a moment’s notice, visit the walk-in clinics of UrgentMED. Our friendly and experienced general practitioners are typically available seven days a week: weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm and weekends from 9 am to 5 pm. Our Culver City location has extended hours from 8 am to midnight, and 8 am to 5 pm on weekends
Appointments aren’t necessary, and walk-ins are always welcome. Get the fastest medical attention in Southern California without hospital wait times or pricey doctor visits. Our general practitioners can also perform x-rays and write prescriptions which you can have fulfilled in-house as well. UrgentMED is a one-stop-shop for all your medical needs. Find the walk-in clinic closest to you and visit us today!