I was recently assigned to a private family medicine practice as a way to immerse myself in a clinical setting before third year rotations, and it was definitely an interesting experience.
From the outset, I could clearly tell that the physician really cared about his patients. In addition, it was apparent that he enjoyed his job. I could tell that family medicine is a type of medical setting where you develop strong bonds with your patients; this doctor treated multiple generations of the same families. I can certainly see the appeal of the job—it must be gratifying to watch families and their health evolve over time. Additionally, the patients really do appreciate the work that you do; not a single patient had anything negative to say about the physician. However, I could tell that this was not the job for me. I found family medicine to be too repetitive and relying heavily on referrals. Most of the cases I saw were related to diabetes, smoking, and the thyroid. Maybe these cases are statistically more likely to present to family medicine practices. I just personally found it to be routine and uninteresting. Additionally, it irked me how much the job relied on sending for tests and referring patients to other doctors. Again, I understand that it’s the nature of the job; family medicine doctors are first line physicians. So naturally if there’s something suspicious, a family medicine doctor will refer his patient to a specialist.
I personally would find that unsatisfying. I totally understand that tests are needed to confirm diagnoses and that it’s important to confirm a suspicion with other opinions. I just thought that the job relied too heavily on this. Again, I have nothing against family medicine, it just didn’t seem up my alley!