What is a physician?

What is a Physician / Paediatrician?

Physicians are doctors who have completed further training in a medical specialty to diagnose and manage complex medical problems.

A Paediatrician is a Physician who specialises in the treatment of infants, children and adolescents.

The RACP trains Physicians in a number of medical specialties, including:

Questions about Physicians

What is the difference between a Physician and a Specialist?

All Physicians are Specialists, yet not all Specialists are Physicians, for example, a Surgeon is a specialist in surgery that has trained with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

You may hear a Physician called a Specialist, a Specialist Physician or Consultant Physician. 

What is the difference between a Physician and a General Practitioner (GP)?

Physicians complete at least six years of additional training in a medical specialisation after their basic medical degree and internship.

A GP may also undertake additional medical training, but does so through the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners.

In some countries (United States), the term Physician is interchangeable with medical practitioner. This is not the case in Australia and New Zealand.

Where do Physicians work?

Physicians work in different settings, including hospitals, private practices and community medical centres. Physicians may also focus on research or medical administration.

When does a patient see a Physician?

General Practitioners refer patients to a Physician for expert medical advice. Physicians also treat patients in hospital settings.

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