Family Physicians and General Practitioners

(NOC 3112)

in All Health

General Practitioners (GPs) and family physicians diagnose and treat the diseases, physiological disorders and injuries of patients. They provide primary contact and continuing and comprehensive care to patients of all ages. They usually work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals and clinics. Residents in training to be general practitioners and family physicians are included in this group.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 255 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Family Physicians and General Practitioners most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 46% of Family Physicians and General Practitioners who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $86,161. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$16.48

Minimum

$31.91

Median

$38.46

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,197

Minimum

$80,726

Median

$199,894

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$25.50

Median

$41.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

General Practitioners (GPs) and family physicians diagnose and treat the diseases, physiological disorders and injuries of patients. They provide primary contact and continuing and comprehensive care to patients of all ages. They usually work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals and clinics. Residents in training to be general practitioners and family physicians are included in this group.

Job duties

General practitioners and family physicians perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Examine patients and take their histories, order laboratory tests, X-rays and other diagnostic procedures and consult with other medical practitioners to evaluate patients' physical and mental health.
  • Prescribe and administer medications and treatments.
  • Perform and assist in routine surgery.
  • Provide emergency care.
  • Provide acute care management.
  • Vaccinate patients to prevent and treat diseases.
  • Deliver babies and provide pre-natal and post-natal care.
  • Advise patients and their families on health care including health promotion, disease, illness and accident prevention.
  • Provide counselling and support to patients and their families on a wide range of health and lifestyle issues.
  • Perform patient advocacy role.
  • Coordinate or manage primary patient care.
  • Provide continuous care to patients.
  • Supervise home care services.
  • Report births, deaths, and contagious and other diseases to governmental authorities.

Sample job titles

  • doctor of medicine (MD)
  • family doctor
  • family physician
  • general practitioner (GP)
  • intern
  • medical doctor
  • medical officer of health (MOH)
  • primary care physician
  • public health physician
  • resident physician

Skills

Compassion, sensitivity, and a desire to help people are important. Physicians must take final responsibility for their decisions and the effects they have on patients' lives. Therefore, emotional stability, ethics, maturity, and good judgement are essential. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are important. You should be able to inspire confidence and put people at ease. You must be willing to continually update your knowledge and skills. Good health and stamina may be needed, as physicians often work long hours.

Job requirements

  • A bachelor's degree.
  • Graduation from an approved medical school and two to three years of family medicine residency training are required.
  • Completion of the qualifying examinations of the Medical Council of Canada and licensing by the provincial or territorial licensing authority are required.

Other considerations

Most physicians are self-employed and administer their services through private practices. Most physicians are paid by fee-for-service where earnings depend upon the fees paid by the government for various services and the number of patients served. Some physicians are paid through alternative funding plans.

Family physicians tend to work long and irregular hours, especially those physicians who operate their own practices or work in small groups. General practitioners and family physicians may become specialist physicians with additional training.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,545

employed in 2016

90.8%

employed full-time

52.1%

self employed

48.8%
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51.2%
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48

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

77.1%

employed full-time

10.2%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

59.8%

Halifax

14.3%

Northern

11.0%

Annapolis Valley

8.2%

Cape Breton

6.7%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

96.1%

Health Care and Social Assistance

3.5%

Educational Services

0.3%

Other Industries

What is the age of Employment?

26.7%

35-44

24.8%

25-34

19.9%

55-64

17.4%

45-54

9.3%

65+

1.2%

15-24

Compared to: All Health

31.4%

45-54

27.6%

35-44

20.5%

55-64

15.2%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

81.7%

Master's degree

$107,583 median annual income
13.0%

Doctorate

$126,462 median annual income
3.1%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$107,549 median annual income
1.5%

Bachelor's degree

N/A
0.8%

High school

N/A

Compared to: All Health

39.4%

College certificate or diploma

$36,693 median annual income
27.6%

Bachelor's degree

$57,186 median annual income
7.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$83,000 median annual income
6.9%

High school

$24,119 median annual income
5.1%

Master's degree

$87,808 median annual income

Education & training

Medical scientist (MSc, PhD)

This program is typically offered at the university graduate level (Masters, PhD)

This instructional program class comprises any undifferentiated clinical science program that prepares graduated physicians (M.D. or D.O.) as research scientists in various areas.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Medicine (MD)

This program is typically offered by a university school of medicine.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of medicine, involving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses, injuries, and other disorders of the human body. These programs include courses in the basic medical sciences, clinical medicine, examination and diagnosis, patient communications, medical ethics and laws, professional standards, and rotations in specialties such as internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, neurology, ophthalmology, radiology, clinical pathology, anesthesiology, family medicine, and psychiatry.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Physician

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia
7071 Bayers Road, Suite 5005
Halifax, NS B3J 2C2
(877) 282-7767
(902) 422-7476

Contacts

Doctors Nova Scotia
25 Spectacle Lake Drive
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1X7
Tel: (902) 468-1866
Fax: (902) 468-6578
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
774 Echo Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5N8
Tel: (800) 668-3740
Fax: (613) 730-8830

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