Family doctors perform routine medical procedures such as gynecological exams, administer vaccinations and prescribe medicines. The primary role of the family doctor is to ensure that the individual health of the patient is maintained in good condition by regularly examining, diagnosing and treating ailments. It may be tempting to try to cover up any illness or injury by stopping the routine medical procedures, but family doctors have a vital role to play in maintaining the overall health of the patient. Family doctors follow a code of ethics which includes not performing medical procedures unless it is necessary and they adhere to strict guidelines on what they need to do to treat a patient. A family doctor has the additional role of being a mentor. They can provide valuable input to their patients by providing guidance on health issues and various treatments. A family doctor can also refer their clients to various specialists, when needed, for example they may refer their patients to an eye doctor or dentist. Alternatively, they may refer their patients to other health professionals if they think that the initial diagnosis of their client was mistaken. They may also refer their patients to substance abuse programs or other treatment facilities. Generally a family doctor has a three-year post-high school degree which enables them to attain a degree in medicine, but some specialize by taking additional medical courses. Many family doctors also continue their education by taking additional advanced courses to increase their knowledge and expertise on various aspects of family medicine. Some family doctors continue their medical education after they reach the age of 65, while others choose to go straight into the profession after finishing their post-secondary schooling. In the United States, the American College of Family Medicine provides online education and training to prepare future family doctors.