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Primary care vs. specialize

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by calbears84, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. calbears84

    calbears84 professional baller 7+ Year Member

    323
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    Sep 16, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    why do people go into primary care instead of specializing?
     
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  3. AlternateSome1

    AlternateSome1 Burnt Out Physician 10+ Year Member

    971
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    Aug 2, 2002
    NY
    I think it depends on what you enjoy. Primary care people tend to get quite a bit of patient interaction, which can be a plus for some. The residencies are typically 3 years, another plus. If you are planning on starting a family practice, then you really don't need to be a radiologist...you can send your patients somewhere else to get testing done. Also, I believe if you join the Navy (and possibly other services) they will give you more money if you want to go into a primary care field (general, family, im, peds). I guess its just a matter of taste.

    ~AS1~
     
  4. gramcracker

    gramcracker Emergency Medicine Attending 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 24, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Maybe because we have way too many specialists in this country and way too few primary care docs?

    http://www.amsa.org/news/pr/99/npcw.html

    Our medical schools should be producing mostly primary care physicians, but instead, they're putting out specialists.
     
  5. smilez428

    smilez428 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 6, 2002
    New Jersey
    i personally want to go into primary care because of the patient contact.... also it seems that you really don't go see specialists unless you're sick or injured....i want to see my patients when they're healthy too! :)
    A lot of people look at me and say- "pediatricians don't make any money nowadays because of HMOs" I guess people don't get it that someone could be going into medicine for more than the money....


    just my thoughts on the subject. :)
     
  6. Becca

    Becca Member 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 11, 2002
    GA
    i am right with ya smilez
     
  7. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
  8. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door Physician 10+ Year Member

    I'm with Smilez and Becca.

    I want to go into primary care because of the increased patient contact. I really want to know about my patients-- not just about their disease. I'm not sure of what area I'll go into yet-- I go back and forth between family med, internal med, and ob/gyn (yes, it's primary care)-- but I'm pretty sure I'll end up in providing primary care in a rural or disadvantaged area. But that's just me.
     
  9. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    1,018
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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    ive really been considering primary care..

    ive also been looking into those state programs (called repayment?) which they want you to work in disadvantaged areas..

    i dont quite understand them though? do they pay part of your tuition?
     
  10. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    depends on the state. Some have special very low interest consolidations, some have outright lump sum payments. I would say call up your state health dept and see what kind of money they will throw your way. Also, there's always national health service corps scholarships, a competitive program, but it pays for all four years with stipend and you contractually agree to work in a federally designated underserved area in primary care (and you have some say as to what region of the country you want to work). Or just join the u.s. public health service outright after med school and they do total loan payoffs too (but that might mean you could possibly be forced into working at a federal prison for a while, or be commissioned to the navy during wartime).
     
  11. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    well i have a family so i cant go crazy
     
  12. Bikini Princess

    Bikini Princess 7+ Year Member

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    May 26, 2002
    along with individual preferences, it may also be related to step test scores, class ranking, and grades during clerkships. i don't mean to imply that peds & fam pract md's tend to have lower test scores/grades, just that sometimes specialities are more competitive.
     
  13. sluox

    sluox Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Jan 4, 2002
    i personally think that the theory that our country needs more primary care docs is a load of crap. Now as to why i think that i point you to a book called "strong medicine".

    the ideal situation is that everybody is educated enough to visit a specialist equipped to deal with the illness. and i think we are heading towards that direction. this is going to get me flames, but i think the primary care physician's responsibility is better served with a team of professional family conselors, social works, psychologist and psychiatrists, specialized physcians and various other specialty trained professionals. the generalist approach to medicine is not only anachronistic but also ineffecient and error-prone.
     
  14. lola

    lola Bovine Member 7+ Year Member

    3,849
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    Mar 22, 2002
    california
    that may be ideal, but it will NEVER happen. if you think the average american is that educated/informed, you are seriously mistaken.
     
  15. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 30, 2002
    California
    Yeah, if everyone were educated enough to go to the right specialist immediately, then the upper end of the "informed/educated" spectrum would be self-diagnosing and maybe even self-medicating. That would be wonderful.:rolleyes:
     
  16. poloace

    poloace Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 3, 2001
    NY,NY
    i self-medicate... damn glaucoma.
    p
     
  17. smilez428

    smilez428 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    208
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    Jun 6, 2002
    New Jersey
    i don't know about the rest of the future primary care docs in here, but I'm interested in primary care, and I don't even know my scores or class rank. I'm not "settling" for primary care because I can't do anything else, I'm pursuing primary care because that's what i want to do :) :) :)

    Hooray for those of us who don't "settle"! :clap: :clap:
     
  18. mdterps83

    mdterps83 Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 9, 2002
    You guys should get back to the SDN forums after you disimpact somebody's bowels for a $45 medicare payment.
     
  19. pharmer

    pharmer Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 20, 2001
    If accepted to medical school I plan to pursue a path in primary care, in particular family practice, because I look foward to forming long lasting relationships with a wide variety of patient. In addition, I will be graduating with a doctorate in pharmacy this year, and I think my background will best compliment a career in primary care where the most prescribing of medications is done. Just my 2 cents. :)
     
  20. AlternateSome1

    AlternateSome1 Burnt Out Physician 10+ Year Member

    971
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    Aug 2, 2002
    NY
    If people were educated... Man, thats like saying, "If people could learn to use turn signals..." "If people could NOT talk on their cell phones loudly in public places..." "If people could vote based upon anything but what their favotie party is called..."


    ~AS1~
     
  21. Explosivo

    Explosivo blah! 7+ Year Member

    I'm more suited to learning a lot about a specific field within medicine rather knowing a little bit of everything as primary care docs do. I prefer depth over breadth.

    As someone who does want to specialize I just hope I am not looked down upon by those wanting to go into primary care as someone that is somewhat less compassionate or less interested in helping others. That is the drift I get from many people that are primary care oriented to whom I have talked to. I'm not talking about anyone on this forum specifically but to people I have generally encountered during my time in school as a premed. Anyone else wanting to specialize get the same drift?
     
  22. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    im not sure to specialize or not..

    but i have gotten that drift.
     
  23. geneman

    geneman The Transgenic Hobo 7+ Year Member

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    May 5, 2002
    Caveman
    LOL, don't hold your breath. :)
     
  24. gramcracker

    gramcracker Emergency Medicine Attending 10+ Year Member

    152
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    Jul 24, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    That's the spirit! Think about medical care in terms of money, cost, and payment, mdterps83!

    If you're looking for an easy buck, try consulting. You won't have to get dirty helping people that need health care.

    <HR>

    On a separate note, primary care docs have a much better opportunity to educate the public about health issues. You'd be surprised how many people don't know how to properly care for children, what to do for simple medical problems, etc.
     
  25. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    all this negativity about primary care is really getting me down.
     
  26. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door Physician 10+ Year Member

    Hey Explosivo-- I think it's great if you want to specialize because you know you'd be a better specialist. Really, I've never understood why some people think of primary care as "settling" and why specialists are viewed as being less compassionate. We need specialists and we need primary care practitioners. It's great that you know what's best for you-- if you know you'd make a better specialist, then by all means be a specialist! Just be the best physician you can be.
     
  27. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

    2,829
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    Jan 30, 2002
    California
    Hell, Scooby has been doing that for years for free. He'll be stoked about getting $45.
     
  28. jot

    jot

    this phenomenon about primary care vs specializing is especially interesting when people start comparing match lists of different schools. a lot of people on this board look for the # of neurosurg,ortho,optho,derm,ent,etc... as reflective of the "success" of the medical school getting its students to good places. though i feel like i'm stating the obvious, many people who have rocked medical school actually choose to go into internam med or primary care etc... just an anecdote, but i just found a friend of mine kicked the crap out of step 1 (256 or something), but *only* wants internal med. when people look at that match list - it would be foolish to marginalize the schools results because of the high # of people going into primarycare/internal med. just a thought, because i caught myself "judging" a matchlist that a school provided based on the aforementioned wrong criteria. hah - always learning how much i don't know. :)
    -jot
     
  29. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    1,018
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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    i hear CNA's in nursing homes get to do that all the time for like 8 bucks an hour :)
     
  30. mdterps83

    mdterps83 Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 9, 2002
    I never meant to say that I would never specialize but I was pointing to that fact that some people are holding themselves to primary care when they have very little doctoring experience in the field. After someone has been through a little more clinical experience (disimpacting bowels) then maybe they should make their decision. I have nothing for the uptmost respect for primary care docs, it's really not fair how they have a much harder time than specialists.
     
  31. gramcracker

    gramcracker Emergency Medicine Attending 10+ Year Member

    152
    1
    Jul 24, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Whoops, sorry, wrong interpretation of your statement, mdterps83. Thought you were one of those "in it for the money" people. :>
     
  32. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    its scary for me what is going on with the specialist vs PC argument..

    ill probably get into school in about 3 years and i m afraid that medicine now maybe isnt as great as I thought. I've had the desire to go into PC but so many negative things have been said..

    im leaning more towards Emergency Med now.
     
  33. Explosivo

    Explosivo blah! 7+ Year Member

    Funny you should say EM. You know its pretty much primary care anyway from what I understand although it hasn't officially been designated as a primary care field.
     
  34. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A. 10+ Year Member

    :laugh: LOL :laugh:
    I'm liking your humour, p
     
  35. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    1,018
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    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    so is ob-gyn so i hear
     

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