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What Is Involved in Primary Care Training?

Erik J.J. Goserud
Erik J.J. Goserud

For a person aspiring to go into the exciting field of primary health care, there is a significant amount of training involved. What this training entails is dependent upon the capacity in which this individual hopes to work. If this person wants to be a nurse, for example, the training is much different than an individual hoping to become a primary care doctor or medical assistant. Identifying which role to fill is the first step in learning more about primary care training.

Primary care is an essential aspect of health care. This field deals with general health inquiries and acts as a sort of triage system to more specialized care. Of course, there are also many health issues that are dealt with in primary care, but for the most part, primary care providers are concerned with general health maintenance and directing patients with more complicated issues to the right specialists.

A medical assistant taking a patient's history.
A medical assistant taking a patient's history.

Due to the broad scope of practice these professionals need to deal with, primary care training is very intense. Regardless of which capacity a person works in, he or she must be exposed to all facets of health care to effectively perform their duties in primary care. Most health care training systems are set up for a generalized education with more specialized training in one particular area down the road. Primary care training follows this pattern as well.

Examining the cases of nurses, doctors, and medical assistants is a good way to get a grasp on primary care training. Nurses either need an associate's or bachelor's degree. This requires years of education and the passing of licensure examinations. Once all of these things are completed, the individual, if hired in primary care, will likely need department-specific training. This training could focus on a variety of things but will probably be geared toward department protocol and primary care responsibilities.

Medical assistants need less education than nurses but also require primary care training before they can serve their important roles as support staff in a primary care department. Doctors intuitively need the most training at all to fill their vast requirements for knowledge and responsibility. These individuals typically need undergraduate degrees, medical school degrees, and terms of specialized training known as a residencies.

A residency can act as a trial period as well as an educational opportunity for primary care training. During this time, new doctors are exposed clinically to the very real goings-on of a primary care department. Their work is usually supervised by an experienced doctor, who will help them blossom in the medical field. The ways to become trained in primary care are as vast as the roles that can be filled in this field and, generally speaking, are very specific to the particular job or program an individual is pursuing.

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    • A medical assistant taking a patient's history.
      By: Misha
      A medical assistant taking a patient's history.