About the job
Family physicians, or general practitioners (GPs), are responsible for managing their patients' primary care. They provide primary contact and continuing and comprehensive care to patients of all ages. This includes examining patients; ordering laboratory tests, x-rays and other diagnostic procedures; prescribing and administering medications and treatments; performing routine surgical procedures; and performing related tasks. They give their patients and their families health-related advice, such as information on nutrition, exercise, accident prevention, and healthy lifestyle choices. 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 unit group.
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.
In order to work in this occupation you need to graduate from an approved medical school and have two to three years of family medicine residency training. You need to complete the qualifying examinations of the Medical Council of Canada and be licensed by the provincial licensing authority.
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.
Labour Market Information
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 above average. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 1,700. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next five years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With 26% of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Family Physicians may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers. Also, a large percentage (56%) of the workforce is self-employed which should be an important consideration for those thinking about employment in the occupation.
The median employment income for 60% of individuals in this occupational group who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $111,830. The median income for the occupation overall was $106,700
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)
|Estimated employment in 2011||Estimated change in employment between 2011 and 2016||Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2011-2016||Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014||Estimated hourly earnings in 2013|
|Area of Employment||% Employed|
|Industry of Employment||% Employed|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||84.5|
|Less than high school graduation certificate||0.0|
|High school graduation certificate or equivalent||0.0|
|Trades certificate or diploma||0.0|
|Non-university certificate or diploma||0.0|
|University certificate or diploma below bachelor||0.0|
|University bachelor's degree||1.8|
|University post graduate degrees||98.2|
Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.
Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.