Difficult time deciding family medicine?

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by oregonbigc, May 15, 2008.

  1. oregonbigc

    oregonbigc Resident
    7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2004
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    Having a difficult time deciding whether family medicine is right for you? I had an extremely difficult time with this decision as well. So did a number of students I spoke with at the national convention a week ago.

    The issues I delt with were:
    1) EGO, choosing a less competitive specialty
    2) Liking some other fields
    3) Salary, much less than some specialties

    It turns into an easier decision when you take away the academic mindset of medical school. At least where I went to medical school, which is one of the top university programs in the country in family medicine, there was still a "why would you want to do that attitude in other rotations." Thats all BS. The truth of the matter is that when you are practicing in the community there is not that feeling. Most patients are greatful and almost all specialists are greatful to you for referrals. It is a different happy world on the other side.

    The issue of liking a couple other specialties a lot, intrigued me for a while, but I know myself enough to know that repetitive tasks will bore me within 5 years for sure. Family is the most diverse and eclectic form that medicine has to offer. You may be suprised by the variety of careers FPs pursue. At my residency program many residents go on to ER, urgent care, hospitalist, private practice, OB fellowship, SM fellowship, academic positions. The options are vast for FP trained physicians.

    Salary is a highly considered these days with medical students when choosing a specialty. The bottom line is that medicine will afford you a good living, but no one will become extremely rich unless the practice good business skills. The good news also is that medicare isn't as quick to drop reimbursement for primary care as it is for specialties.

    Ask yourself this question, "If money was not a consideration and all medical specialties paid the same which field would you go into?" It can help to point you in the right direction.

    Good luck and dont forget Family medicine is now the #2 most recruited specialty
  2. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
    Physician Gold Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2006
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    Attending Physician
  3. Richie Truxillo

    Richie Truxillo Your Scut Monkey Mentor
    Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Apr 26, 2004
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    Attending Physician
    Relax, I already saw the light. I did consider salary and prestige before. I realized the prestige is there regardless and the salary issue doesn't matter all that much to me

    I second the notion on practicing good business skills. I've seen some primary care docs make well into the 300s in rural areas. It's about having good business sense and being educated about your decisions.

    In the end, I wanted lifestyle and the ability to actually sit down when I see patients. It fit my personality.

    Anyway, I haven't even started residency yet so I my comments don't count for much...but please consider this.

    Always consider your lifestyle when choosing your specialty. What good is 350k a year if you are tethered to the hospital 14 hours a day, 6 days a week?
  4. I definitely agree. I think salaries can get blown out of proportion without considering the wage per hour ratio. It can be surprising what salaries look like after standardizing the hour/wage ratio.
  5. lowbudget

    lowbudget Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Aug 4, 2003
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    And the liability. Don't forget the liability. The specialties where liability is high should get paid more. The wage compensates for the risk you're taking on. FM's can at least shift liability to specialists.

    And shelf life also. FM can practice until their old if they want to. We can diversify our revenue source. Procedural specialties are screwed if they develop tremors, injure their hands, or have bad eye sight. ER work is for young people, not old people. As FM, we can cut out OB, procedures, hospital work, ER work if we don't want to or physically become unable to.

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