BCIM Diplomate Roger K. Schwartzberg, DO, FAAIM, Explains What It’s Like to Specialize in Internal Medicine

Roger K. Schwartzberg, DOI knew I wanted to be an internist while I was still a medical student in the early 1970s. I realized then that this would allow me to strive to be an “expert” in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases of adults. I would be given the opportunity to develop meaningful doctor-patient relationships as well as important interactions with other specialists and healthcare workers. Also, I would later be able to decide whether I wanted to be office-based or hospital-based, practice as a general internist, or even sub-specialize in the many fields within internal medicine.

I retired in 2017, and, in retrospect, internal medicine was a great fit for me. The intellectual challenge of solving complex problems was very appealing. Plus, I am a “people person” and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to directly interact with patients to improve their health and well-being. I found immense satisfaction in helping patients deal with chronic medical problems as well as resolving acute medical issues.

The main challenge of working as an internist is realizing that your patients feel you are the primary physician in their medical care. Patients have great respect for the internist’s abilities, and you have a responsibility to avoid disappointing them.

I have always enjoyed teaching medical students, interns, and residents. One of my most memorable experiences as an internist was when I was voted “Educator of the Year” by the entire house staff. It was very gratifying and rewarding to receive such an honor.

I strongly recommend that internists in training read and re-read the basic textbooks rather than spend significant time reading the most current research articles in the journals. Understanding the basics of internal medicine will give you the foundation for learning more in the future.

Every physician in training should also develop listening skills. In fact, it’s among the most important skills not being tested on board exams. Actively listening to your patients when they describe their symptoms—paying attention to what they say and how they say it—will greatly increase the likelihood of making a correct diagnosis. Have empathy, make eye contact, and learn how to communicate appropriately so that your patients will be more likely to understand and adhere to your advice and instructions.

If you’re a physician considering validating your expertise through board certification, contact the Board of Certification in Internal Medicine (BCIM) for details about its eligibility requirements. The BCIM is a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS).

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Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine