Despite data showing that family medicine and traditional primary care are declining in America, the need for family medicine doctors is still very real. Core groups of patients in both small towns and big cities still want access to a family practitioner capable of treating mom, dad, and the kids. Family medicine may not be the go-to it was in the past, but it is still a specialty worth pursuing.
There is a general rule that states anyone can be negative. It takes a lot more effort to stay positive. Where that applies to family medicine is understanding the opportunities that are out there. Those opportunities offer a lot to love about family medicine. In fact, here are just five reasons family medicine practitioners love their jobs:
1. Never a Lack of Work
The decline in family medicine practices in recent years is not the result of a lack of demand. Rather, it is a lack of supply. New doctors just finishing up their residencies tend to move toward more financially lucrative specialties, and that is just for starters. There is also a growing movement among younger doctors to work as hospital or clinic employees. The end result is plenty of demand for family practitioners.
In simple terms, you are never likely to lack for work as a family medicine practitioner. Whether you own your practice, work for a group practice, or make a career of locum tenens, family medicine opportunities will be there waiting for you.
2. Stronger Patient Relationships
Family medicine brings together physicians and multiple generations of the same family. This gives clinicians opportunities to develop longer and stronger relationships with their patients. Each one of those relationships represents a person to get to know, a person whose life a doctor truly can change. Patients are not just numbers on a chart passing through during an emergency.
3. More Daily Variety
Despite family medicine being a recognized specialty, clinicians are not specialists in the same sense as cardiologists or oncologists. In light of that, family medicine clinicians enjoy perhaps the most variety outside of the ER.
If you thrive on variety as opposed to being stuck in the same old routine, family medicine is right up your alley. One minute you might be seeing a child suffering from a nasty cold while the next minute you are speaking with a middle-aged patient just starting to experience the effects of osteoarthritis.
4. Preventative Opportunities Abound
Family practice clinicians have a unique advantage not enjoyed by most other specialties: the opportunity to actually prevent illness before it happens. Remember that family medicine involves developing long-term relationships with patients. Such relationships make it easier for doctors to help their patients manage their overall health over the course of many, many years. This simultaneously affords opportunities for preventative care.
5. More Holistic Opportunities
As a primary care provider you know your patients better than anyone else in medicine. You have more opportunities to provide holistic care as a result. You can treat the entire person rather than just the isolated symptoms of a single injury or illness. You have the opportunity to coordinate care even when a regular patient you have needs to see specialists, giving you more influence in determining the final outcome.
Family medicine jobs may not be the stuff that hit TV programs are made of, but there is no denying that they remain the heart and soul of healthcare. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes from knowing that entire families rely on you for their primary care.