The essence of General Practice is a blend between the ‘science of medicine’ and the ‘art of medicine’. The science part consists of practical application of the best current information as decided by consensus within the profession. This is constantly changing. The art side is the application of this science by the individual doctor to the patient sitting in front of them.
Interpersonal skills and language are key elements. For example, it is inconceivable for a UK doctor to practice adequate clinical medicine in France without being a fluent French speaker.
The general public often think of ‘Medicine’ in terms of diagnosis and treatment.
In practice it is almost entirely about the ‘management of a situation at a point in time’.
In my opinion, doctors only seldom ‘cure the patient’. Most of the time it is about the use of knowledge and skills to help the patient along, while ‘nature takes its particular course in that particular individual’.
However, whatever the circumstances, a doctor’s professional duty is to enable and facilitate compassion and comfort to the patient at all times.