4 answers

Which doctors spend the most and least time with patients? Is that the hardest or easiest part of your job?

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4 answers

Judy’s Answer

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I can only give you an answer for this question based on my experience as an oncology NP and as a patient in South LA. Primary physicians, internists, oncologists, palliative care physicians and pediatricians are the doctors that I most often see spending a lot of time with the patient. Ironically, when accompanying a friend to a psychiatrist appointment, I was shocked that she was in there for about 10 minutes every visit and it was for prescriptions only. Hopefully, there are others that do spend more time with their patients. The ones I see spend the least time with patients are generally pathologists, anesthesiologists, surgeons and radiologists. There are many specialties where the doctors fit somewhere in between. My gynecologist and GI doc spend plenty of time with me and during pregnancy (many years ago!) even more time was spent with me despite that these doctors do many procedures/surgeries where the patient is under sedation.

In full disclosure, I have two close relatives that are MD's. One is a retired pathologist and never saw live patients and the other is a psychiatrist on an inpatient forensic unit in a state hospital that spends all his time with his patients. Hope this is helpful.
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Estelle’s Answer

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Pathologists do not really interact with patients for the most part, so they probably spend the least amount of time. I would guess that psychiatrists generally spend the most amount of time, but it really depends on what their practice model is. Primary care physicians often spend a longer amount of time with patients as well.
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Rachel’s Answer

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As a surgeon, about half of my time is spent talking to patients, and half of my time is spent operating on them while they are asleep. It is a nice mix.
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Richard’s Answer

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There are so many types of physicians. Broadly there are family practice doctors, internal medicine and its subspecialties, and surgery with its subspecialties. There are also physicians that don't fit in these such as psychiatry, radiology, pathology , physical medicine/rehabilitation.


I am a radiologist so I spend the majority of my time away from patients. However, as an interventional radiologist I do get to spend some time with people before and after image-guided procedures. It is definitely the highlight of my day
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