Rotation: Family Medicine


Name/Location of Clinical Rotation

2 weeks in a local FM clinic, 4 weeks at a rural AHEC site. My local clinic was also the home of the HIV/AIDS clinic.

What did I like most about this specialty?

All of the people and the variety that we saw. Family Medicine also sees kids, but very few, so I was always quick to jump on those cases.

What did I like least about this specialty?

Not enough kids. But that’s what I say about everything that isn’t Pediatrics.

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

I got a very good perspective on the type of work a Family Medicine physician encounters every day. I liked that on my rural rotation, my preceptor asked for my opinion more often than on any other rotation so far, which kept me on my toes and always thinking.

Did my interests, values, kills and personality fit with this specialty? If yes, how did they fit? If not, why might they not be compatible?

I really enjoyed how I meshed with this patient population. At the local clinic, my favorite patient was a young girl that came in for an STD screen. She was worried that she might have seen something in the shower and was a crying, hysterical mess. I was the first to see her, and I spent a good long time talking to her about what happened and why she was worried, and tried to comfort her. After explaining the situation to my preceptor and we examined the patient, we found…… Nothing! All that worry for nothing, but we gave her lots of options for birth control and for protecting herself from contracting an STD. She cried and gave me a hug before she left. That was the best experience, and totally exemplifies why I wanted to go into medicine to begin with.

My rural preceptor was actually pretty close to my home (with having a kid in daycare that had to be picked up in late afternoon, this was ideal), but on Mondays our last appointment was at 7pm. These were some of the longest and hardest days I have worked as a third year. My preceptor was also a pretty inspiring guy. He started the clinic on his own from a grant, taught himself Spanish so he could easily converse with a large portion of his patients, and the clinic was so successful that there was a brand-new school clinic opening that he was helping to run, along with another school clinic in the beginning phases. I even got to help out with the opening of the school clinic as my community service project while I was on service. We were constantly busy; we’d have 50 scheduled patients/day and we took walk-ins. I would volunteer to go see patients as soon as they came in the door to keep the flow going.

What are the possible practice settings exist for this specialty? Do any of them interest me and do I know enough about them?

The clinic setting is pretty common, but I know that the residents often train in our local hospitals as well, especially our pediatric hospital.

What info do I still need?

None–I really enjoyed my time in Family Medicine, a lot more than I thought I would. However, I still think I’m going into Pediatrics.

Has my perception of this specialty changed? If yes, how?

Umm, yes. I was really dreading this rotation. I’d already had Pediatrics and Internal, so I figured it would just be a rehashing of some of those same topics so I wasn’t particularly excited about it. However, I learned a ton of preventative medicine and saw so many cool cases, including regular bread-and-butter cases that were great practice.

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

Family Medicine is higher up on my list than I thought it would be. I was very impressed by the depth of education I got on this rotation.

Right now, how interested am I in this specialty?

Pediatrics>Internal>Family>Neurology>Surgery

What information do I still need to evaluate this specialty? Any other comments or reflections?

None! Now on to…… OBGYN.

Resources for the Shelf: Case Files, Step Up to Medicine (ambulatory section), Master the Boards (Emergency Med section), Pretest for questions. 

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