Generally, doctors working in internal medicine diagnose illnesses and suggest treatment to patients who have been admitted to a hospital. Internal medicine doctors receive patients who have arrived at the hospital through the emergency room and through referral from their primary physician. Depending upon professional licensing standards and regional regulations, doctors typically become qualified in internal medicine after completing a multi-year residency training period. Some doctors choose to specialize further after finishing their internal medicine residency. Internal medicine salaries are affected by a doctor's chosen specialty and the amount of time the doctor has been licensed.
When a patient is ill and admitted to a hospital, it is often an internal medicine doctor that determines the cause of the illness. Internal medicine doctors also treat injuries that require a hospital stay, and administer certain types of pain relief to chronically ill individuals. After certain types of surgery, a patient's after-care can by overseen by doctors who are trained in internal medicine. Doctors of this type are essentially a jack-of-all-trades that know a lot about human organs and the diseases that can inflict them.
The process to become a doctor differs based upon on regional standards and regulations. In some areas, an individual becomes a doctor after successfully completing medical school and passing a board certification process that includes taking exams and earning clinical experience. Once medical school is finished, newly licensed doctors choose to specialize in a field and complete a multiple year on-the-job training program known as a residency. In some regions, the internal medicine residency program generally lasts three years.
During residency, internal medicine salaries are determined based upon the year of the program, typically with an annual increase. In addition to receiving a set salary-stipend from a program, residents in some areas can also moonlight as doctors at other hospitals. Some hospitals may have a doctor shortage and need assistance from outside contractors. Internal medicine doctors can work in these positions both during residency and after their training is completed, and they are generally paid an hourly rate. Once doctors are working as attending physicians, internal medicine salaries can be determined by tenure within a particular position at a hospital.
Once the residency training period is finished, internal medicine salaries are affected by the type of fellowship program the doctor chooses to complete. Fellowships are available in many different subject areas such as cardiology. The type of fellowship completed will determine the rate of internal medicine salaries for doctors who choose to practice in their chosen field of specialty outside of general internal medicine.