Why Family Medicine?

My Family

My Family

Why Family Medicine?

It is a very satisfying field, particularly if you love building relationships with patients and their families. I’ve gotten to treat both parents and their kids. I’ve even got to take care of a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, then take care of both her newborn and herself post-partum. The range of practice is wide, and the variety of issues you’ll see is exciting. I’ve done things from skin biopsy procedures to psych med management. When my clinic patient gets admitted to the hospital, I continue treating him in the hospital. If he becomes home-bound, I treat him at home. I see patients when they are first born, and I see patients at the end of their lives. Everday is exciting, and you’ll never know who or what you’ll see day-to-day. We are trained to be very versatile practitioners.

How is the Job Market?

In terms of career opportunities, family med doctors are highly sought after. In fact, surveys have shown that it is the top sought after specialty by medical employers. Check out this Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2013/08/31/the-10-most-in-demand-career-specialties-in-health-care/ . There will always be a need for primary care physicians wherever you go. People will come to you first whenever they have a medical issue or if they simply want a regular check up or get advice. Down here in Georgia, I can definitely see the demand for family practitioners. The third year residents finishing our program get tons of offers all the time, and they get jobs in all settings: inpatient hospitalist, urgent care, outpatient, and combination in and outpatient. Some go to bigger cities like Atlanta and others go to small towns like Forsyth, Georgia, and become the town doctor, without competition.

Can You Sub-specialize?

Some students may have a misconception that one cannot sub-specialize as a family practitioner. However, this is certainly not true and there are actually quite a few choices for fellowships you can do after family medicine residency. Just in my program alone, we have a Geriatrics as well as a Palliative Medicine Fellowship program, and because of this, many of my family medicine attendings are Geriatricians and Palliative specialists. There is a growing demand for sub-specialties like Geriatrics or Palliative Medicine. Some of my specialist attendings are medical directors at nursing homes as well as hospices. In the hospital setting, geriatric consults are often sought for elderly patients to deal with issues like polypharmacy, delerium, and age-related dose adjustments for medications. And for those with poor prognosis or uncontrolled pain, pallative consults are often sought for determining goals of care, providing comfort, and terminal weaning when appropriate. AAFP has a Fellowship Directory that lists these fellowships available to family medicine residency graduates:

  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Academic Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Hospitalist Medicine
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Global Health
  • Obstetrics
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Research
  • Rural Medicine
  • Sports Medicine
  • Substance Abuse Medicine
  • Urgent Care
  • Women’s Health
  • Others:
    • Headache Medicine
    • Behavioral Health
    • Community Medicine
    • Super-utilizer Medicine – For those not familiar with the term, “super-utilizers” are patients who suffer from multiple complex, chronic issues who are often also in difficult social situations that cause them to overuse emergency departments and inpatient admissions. They cost the health care system a lot of money and resources. I think it’s interesting that super-utilizers have become such an issue that an institute has decided to make a fellowship out of it.
    • HIV
    • Neuromuscular Medicine
    • Neuropsychiatry
    • Underserved Dermatology
    • Wilderness Medicine
    • Intensive Care

How Do I Decide?

When I was deciding on my specialty, I had several in mind, but I ultimately went with my heart, my intuition, in what I feel I would enjoy the most, and what I would be most fitting for. I chose family medicine and have no regrets.


End of Intern Year

IMG_7213 High Falls, Georgia with my co-residents. So it’s come to this day, the end of internship year. There’s no doubt that there were some rough days and sleepless nights during the past 365 days, but there were also many days when I came home with a smile knowing I did something significant for someone else. As for my co-residents, I have really…

Return to the Caribbean

Our ship The last time I saw the Caribbean was the day I hauled my bags to the airport and flew away from St. Maarten where I had been living for two years for Basic Sciences, to move back to the states to start my clinical rotations. That was in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t until nearly four years later, this past month,…

Dos and Don’ts for Residency Application and Interview

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IMG_5746-0.JPG Hey folks, I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am still here, surviving my intern year. Residency has been pretty busy thus far, but there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t come home feeling I’ve had a productive day. My intern experience thus far has been pretty inpatient-heavy. I’ve had two months of internal medicine…

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  • Back Burner

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