Basic training in internal medicine is a three-year (frequently termed “categorical”) residency training program. Following completion, individuals are prepared for board certification in internal medicine and prepared to practice general internal medicine.
General internal medicine training equips individuals to handle the broad spectrum of illnesses that affect adults, and general internists are recognized as experts in diagnosis, treatment of chronic illness, and comprehensive health promotion and disease prevention. Due to the broad yet intensive nature of core internal medicine training, general internists are not limited to one type of medical problem or organ system; this is also the reason that basic internal medicine training is required as the foundation to prepare those who desire to pursue additional subspecialty training in internal medicine.
Clinical career options for general internists are extremely broad and flexible. Two of the most recognizable types of practice pursued by general internists are primary care general internal medicine in which the internist follows a panel of patients longitudinally over time and provides preventive, acute, and chronic care, most often in the ambulatory setting, and hospital medicine (“hospitalist”) in which clinical work is focused on caring for patients requiring hospital-level care.
Source: American College of Physicians