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, especially with the quickly aging population in this country. 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, palliative consults are often sought for determining goals of care, providing comfort, and terminal weaning when appropriate. Because palliative care is about improving the quality of end-of-life care rather than prolonging death with expensive, aggressive treatments, many hospitals are now finding that they can save a lot of money and resources by having a palliative service. Because of this, palliative medicine is in big demand throughout the country. AAFP has a Fellowship Directory that lists these fellowships available to family medicine residency graduates:
- Adolescent Medicine
- Emergency Medicine
- Academic Medicine
- Hospice and Palliative Care
- Hospitalist Medicine
- Integrative Medicine
- Global Health
- Preventive Medicine
- Rural Medicine
- Sports Medicine
- Substance Abuse Medicine
- Urgent Care
- Women’s Health
- 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.
- Neuromuscular Medicine
- 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.
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…
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,…
It’s that time of the year again… interview season. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was interviewing here and meeting my current colleagues for the first time. Today, I find myself on the other side of the dinner table, interviewing candidates who I will potentially work with next year. I’ve gotten to read many applications, and met many interviewees, and…
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…
It’s that time of year again, when all medical students who are transitioning into doctors go through a rite of passage called the Match season. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I went through mine. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on this side of the Match, and already, I will be interviewing applicants like…
During the residency interview, it’s important to dress to impress. While you can act and speak professionally, wearing jeans or a mini skirt to an interview can ruin the program’s impression of you. For every interview you go to, it’s important to bring two types of outfits:
Business Casual – to wear to the dinner with residents the night before interview.
With rounds, daily progress notes, grand rounds, afternoon clinics, day calls, night calls, morning reports, presentations, and teaching sessions, there are several things that had to be put on the back burner these past two months into residency, and blogging happened to be one of them, as you’ve probably noticed from my hiatus.
Morning after a night call
There’s so much I wanted to write about, like my experience during orientation, my first day of residency, Lyra’s 3rd month “birthday,” my first overnight on-call shift as a resident physician, my first paracentesis, and my struggles finding my way around the hospital system. However, it’s been 4 weeks since I started orientation and 2 weeks since I starting seeing patients,…
So we packed up the U-Haul, buckled Lyra into her carseat, and made the move north to my hometown of Macon where I am starting my new career as a family medicine resident physician. Seeing where all my other classmates have matched for residency, this 2.5 hour move from Irene’s hometown of Valdosta to Macon is a relatively easy one I’d say.
Me, Chris, and Arif as Anatomy TAs at AUC in 2010.
Earlier this month, my good friends from med school, Arif and Chris, drove down to visit Irene, Lyra, and me here in Georgia. Chris was coming from his pathology residency up in Pennsylvania and Arif was coming from his surgery program up in New York, so it was a lot of driving on their…
This year’s graduation ceremony is finally here and I’ve waited a long time for this. This is the time when we all celebrate the culmination of the last four years and the beginning of our career in medicine. We recite the Hippocratic Oath (or at least the modern version that does not reference Apollo), and profess ourselves to do no harm.…
I remember when we were pre-med students, we looked up to those who were already in med school and thought that their life was smooth sailing. Then once we proudly got into med school, we became “firsties” and looked up admirably to the fifth semester honor students as they walked across the stage during white coat ceremony, having their words of…
Three mothers and their children – L to R – April, Leah, and Irene Ho.
Ever since I became a parent, I appreciate more than ever the patience, dedication, and sacrifice that you made in your life to raise us to become the individuals we are today. Being a mom is not easy, especially to four boys. You taught us…
Can you find me?
Unlike US medical schools that have only one start date per year in the fall, Caribbean medical schools typically have 2 or 3 start dates. At AUC, students may start medical school in January, May, or, September. I’ve gotten quite a few questions about the difference between start dates and so I’d like to address the answer here in…
Med school is no doubt very expensive, and for international medical graduates like me, living in the Caribbean where cost of living is high and traveling around to different clinical rotation sites does not help the amounting debt that we build up during our training. After four strenuous years, I now have an MD degree, a Dr. in front of…
As I write this, Irene, Lyra, and I are taking a road trip up to Macon for a few days, getting some important things done for our move up to this town in the next few weeks. It’s been over a month and a half since we’ve been in the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World (or so we proudly…
Residency interviews wrap up in late January, and by mid-February, you should already have an ordered list of how you are going to rank the programs you interviewed at. How you order your Rank Order List (ROL) can make a difference in where you go for residency. Here are some important tips on what to do and not to do…
From the moment I met Irene, I have been impressed by her free spirit, dedication, and her ability to always make me smile, and I married her so that I will be smiling for the rest of my life. Irene is a strong woman and for the past nine months, she has been a trooper, not giving up a day…
It’s not everyday that you turn 30 and find out you landed a residency position to your first choice program. But that’s what happened yesterday, and I couldn’t be any more ecstatic. Yes, I’m happy to announce that I have matched into Mercer University / Navicent Health Family Medicine Residency Program! This means I am going back to my hometown…