If you’re a new doctor, or a physician thinking of changing specialties, you might want to consider family medicine. Family practice physicians are in high demand, with many unfilled job opportunities across the U.S. In fact, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimate a primary care (including family medicine) physician shortage of up to 48,000 positions by 2034.
But how do you know if family practice medicine is right for you? Here are some reasons you might be the right fit for this rewarding specialty.
1. You’re a Problem Solver
Practicing medicine as a family physician can require some detective work. For instance, two patients may come with similar symptoms but have two different conditions or ailments. It will be up to you to uncover the clues that will lead to an appropriate diagnosis.
In addition, you’ll be seeing a variety of patients and age groups, so you may have to come up with creative solutions for some unique issues. For example, you may have to suggest affordable options for patients who cannot pay for more expensive treatments. Or a young patient may struggle with taking certain medications, and you may need to provide the parents with alternatives to ensure their child's treatment plan is followed.
2. You Enjoy Variety
Family practices allow you to see a little bit of everything. Many family doctors choose their specialty because they enjoy caring for people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds.
Physicians in highly specialized fields can sometimes grow bored and feel stagnant in their careers. As the first stop for most of your patients, you’ll be able to encounter a much wider array of conditions and medical issues that will allow you to stay current on various new treatments, medications, and research.
3. You Love Building Deep Patient Relationships
Specializing in family practice allows you to see the same patients year after year, giving you a chance to develop deeper relationships than in other specialties. Being there as children grow up and adults move through different phases of life can be extremely satisfying and both professionally and personally rewarding.
4. You’re Comfortable in Charge
Physicians in more defined specialties typically work as part of a larger medical team, but in family medicine, you’ll likely be the one calling the shots. You’ll be directing patient care and managing your own team. If you relish the role of a leader, family practice may be for you.
Consider Life as a Family Practice Physician
In family practice, you’ll have variety, potentially lifelong patient relationships, and a chance to direct your own team. If you are great at communicating, problem-solving, and taking control, you’ll likely find family medicine a rewarding career path.
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