Medical School Rotation #3 Reflections: Family Medicine

Hi everyone! In this post, I’ll share what I liked and didn’t like about my family medicine (FM) rotation as well as how I ranked FM as a speciality I’m interested in!

What did I like most about this specialty?

Continuity with patients and their families. Family medicine is a really unique field in that you get the opportunity to build long-standing relationships with patients. Many patients will follow up with their family doctor frequently if they have health concerns or yearly if they’re healthy. Compared to other specialities, this allows you a significant amount of time to get to know your patients. Also, since many families see the same doctor, you can get to know many families as a whole.

Being the initial contact and at the center of a patient’s care. Family medicine doctors are usually the first doctors patients will see if a health issue. Thus, they get to work up a wide variety of health concerns. The variety of illnesses these doctors saw was an intriguing aspect of this speciality.

FM doctors also coordinate patient’s care between many providers. If they refer a patient to another specialty, that specialty will work up the patient then send a report back to their family doctor. Thus, family med doctors truly manage patient’s care holistically.

Schedule. Most family medicine doctors only work Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm!

What did you not like about this specialty?

No procedures. As you guys know, this is a big one for me!

Acuity. I personally like to see higher acuity patients. I didn’t enjoy treating basic conditions like the cold or flu and was not super enthused by completing annual/wellness exams.

Fast-paced. This may vary by different practice locations, but since I worked at a private practice, volume = $$. These family medicine doctors needed to see LOTS of patients in order to bring in money. At our practice, we had appointments every 15 minutes, and sometimes they were double or tripled booked. I felt that the high volume slightly compromised the doctor-patient relationship because we had less time to answer patients’ concerns and provide thorough explanations.

Paperwork, insurance, referrals, etc. These things are apparent in every field of medicine, but they are more of a burden to primary care field. Example: When a family medicine doctor refers a patient to a specialist, it is their office’s job to get prior authorization from the patient’s insurance (if needed) to see the specialist.

Did this clinical rotation give me a good sense of what practice in this specialty would be like?

No. I rotated through a rural private practice family medicine clinic. As someone who will most likely live in a big city, I didn’t get to experience how being a family medicine doctor would be in such a location.

Has my perception of this specialty changed based on my clinical rotation experiences?

Yes. I didn’t realized how fast-paced family medicine practices could be. I honestly did not like this aspect of it and almost felt burnt out from seeing so many patients!

Did my clinical rotation experience influence the likelihood of choosing a career in this specialty? 

I definitely did!

Right now, how interested am I in this specialty as a career option? (On a scale of 0-10)

Family medicine is an incredible speciality. It’s great for those are who like to see the same patients over a long period of time and develop deep relationships with their patients. It’s great for people who like to coordinate care and are the first line when a patient gets ill. I had a great rotation and learned a lot. However, it was not the speciality for me. I would rate my interest in this speciality as a 4/10.

Thanks for reading!

What else do you guys want to hear about my IM rotation?! Let me know and I’ll share! 🙂


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