Healthcare Technology Featured Article

March 15, 2021

Is a Career in Family Medicine Right For You?

While a specialist will focus their expertise in one area of medical practice, a physician who chooses to practice family medicine must develop expertise in several different areas of family medical care. When you choose this path for your career, you'll have to dedicate yourself to providing comprehensive care to patients of any age or gender.

What Factors Will Influence the Healthcare Services You'll Provide?

As someone who practices family medicine, you'll be seeing the same patients regularly throughout their lifetimes. The advantage to this type of situation is that you'll develop relationships with each patient that are built on trust and familiarity. As a practitioner living in the same community as your patients, you'll also be aware of factors in your community that may affect the health of your patients. This can help you improve the efficiency with which you diagnose the problems that each patient reports to you.

You'll also serve as a bridge between your patients and the healthcare facilities that will provide treatment. It will be up to you to help alleviate the concerns and fears of your patients, telling them what to expect from any procedure they may need to undergo. Someone who chooses family medicine should enjoy spending time with patients because there is much more interaction involved in the practice of this type of medicine. If you choose this path for yourself, you'll have an opportunity to provide each of your patients with an improved quality of care. You may even develop a reputation for the empathy and skill you utilize in caring for your patients.

How Does the Practice of Family Medicine Benefit Patients?

People rely heavily on their primary care physicians, so this career path places you in a position to significantly impact the lives of others. In some research, it has been found that a family medicine practitioner benefits patients in several positive ways. Some of the ways in which this role will allow you to improve the quality of life for your patients include:

  • Reduced rates of infant mortality
  • Healthier birth weights
  • Greater number of immunized infants
  • Reduced healthcare costs
  • Improved longevity

How Will You Prepare For a Career in Family Medicine?

If a career in family medicine appeals to you, prepare yourself for training and experience beyond obtaining your license to practice medicine. After you complete medical school, you'll have to spend three years in residency. During your residency, you'll receive more comprehensive training in all aspects of healthcare. This will include diagnosing and treating conditions that affect patients at various stages of their lives. You'll have to become an expert in illnesses that affect infants, children, teens, adults, and seniors.

The additional training you'll receive will focus on the following areas of medical care:

  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Internal medicine
  • Psychiatry and neurology
  • Surgery
  • Community medicine

Starting Your Private Practice

When you have finished your training period, you'll be ready to start your private practice. You'll find the experience is different from anything you may have expected. In addition to diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries, you'll be responsible for providing preventative care. As well as immunizing your patients, you will have to educate them on healthy living practices and perform regular checkups to diagnose problems early. You can provide customized care to your patients by performing health assessments and providing recommendations that will help them reduce their risks for chronic or degenerative diseases.

You will provide a broad range of services to each patient, starting with offering family planning services. Even after your female patients get pregnant, you'll have the opportunity to provide early care until the patient chooses an OB/GYN specialist. You'll also perform a broad range of procedures, including colposcopy/LEEP, colonoscopy, endoscopy, vasectomy, ultrasound imagining tests, skin care procedures, suturing cuts and lacerations, spirometry, and musculoskeletal injections.

Some procedures can be done in your own office, but others will have to be performed in a hospital setting. This is why 83% of family medicine practitioners maintain hospital privileges. In fact, 48% of family medicine physicians treat patients strictly in a hospital or clinic. Of all family medicine practitioners, 31% offer emergency care services and 18% provide long-term OB services.

If you enjoy working directly with patients and want to form lasting relationships with those you treat, family medicine may be the right path for you. It will give you an opportunity to heal those within your community and ensure the long-term good health of each patient.

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