The primary-care practitioner -- specialist or jack-of-all trades

N Engl J Med. 1975 Oct 30;293(18):903-7. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197510302931805.


Primary-care physicians, too often viewed as low-level generalists, are more appropriately thought of as specialists whose work demands specific skills. These physicians function as managers, advocates, educators, and counselors for their patients while also serving as co-ordinators of other professionals involved in primary care. The basis for education in primary care should be a recognition of the specialized nature of the work that primary-care physicians perform. Faculty members in primary-care programs should themselves be primary-care physicians; these educators deserve the same titles and status given other clinical specialists within the academic community. The setting of standards for primary-care practice and the design of research into areas such as the quality of care are tasks that should be undertaken by, or in collaboration with, physicians who are primary-care specialists.

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Education, Medical
  • Health Education
  • Organization and Administration
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Professional Practice
  • Role
  • Specialization
  • United Kingdom
  • United States