General Family Medicine

What to Expect at a Family Practice Doctor Appointment?

Family medicine doctors perform various routine exams, including annual physicals, newborn and well-child checkups, men’s health screenings including prostate exams, and female pelvic exams, including annual pap smears.

What you can expect will depend on why you have come in for the visit. Your doctor may perform:

• Checking vital signs (blood pressure, body temperature, heartbeat, and breathing rate)
• Requesting routine Blood tests to screen you for conditions like high cholesterol or diabetes
• A head and neck exam
• Abdominal exam
• Immunizations
• Skin exam
• Women’s health screenings like pap smears, osteoporosis screening, mammogram referrals, and sexual health screening
• Men’s health screenings like prostate exams, aortic aneurysm screenings, colorectal exam referrals
• Infant and child screenings to evaluate growth

Your doctor will also ask you questions about your lifestyle habits, medications, mental wellness, and other health-related concerns.

Why is a physical exam done?

• check for possible diseases and medical conditions, including cancer
• find medical issues that may become problems in the future
• allow your doctor to notice and keep track of any changes in your physical health
• check your health during and after cancer treatment
• ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle
• help your doctor decide if more tests are needed

What happens after a physical exam?

Your doctor will talk to you about the results of the physical exam and suggest anything that you should be doing differently. They may recommend more tests, procedures, follow-up care or treatment.

Special considerations for children

For babies and young children, a physical exam may include:

• asking questions about their growth and development
• measuring the size around their head (the circumference)
• checking fine motor development, such as their ability to pick up small objects or tie shoes
• checking gross motor development, such as being able to walk, climb stairs or jump

Preparing children before a test or procedure can help lower their anxiety, increase their cooperation and develop their coping skills. This includes explaining to children what will happen during the test, such as what they will see, feel and hear.
Tell toddlers and other young children what to expect during a physical exam.

Preparing a child for a physical exam depends on the age and experience of the child. Find out more about helping your child cope with tests and treatments.

Walk- In Clinics

Walk-in clinics provide medical care for people who do not have a family doctor or have one and are unable to reach them.
You can see a nurse or doctor, often without an appointment at a walk-in clinic, and get advice, assessment and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries such as cuts, bruises, minor infections, sprains and skin complaints.


May vary by location:

• diagnosis and treatment of minor illnesses and injuries
• prescriptions
• referrals

When to use this option

• you’re in a non-urgent situation
• your family doctor’s office is closed or if you don’t currently have a family doctor
• you need care for minor illnesses and injuries including infection and rashes, fractures, emergency contraception and advice, stomach upsets, cuts and bruises, burns, sprain or strain