Family medicine physicians are more than just doctors. They are the backbone of the public healthcare system, often identifying important public health trends before they can become more acute. They help improve access to care for people from all walks of life. They are among the most trusted professionals in the country.
But they also face the same challenges that are affecting all doctors and specialties these days.
Government mandates, changing reimbursement models and increased administrative duties make the job as challenging as ever.
Yes, there are many great reasons to become a family medicine physician. Here’s a look at the top five benefits:
The United States is in the throes of a physician shortage. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the country will be face a shortage of between 46,000 and 90,000 physicians by 2025. While that’s bad news for the country, it means that family medicine physicians will continue to be in demand.
Having job security allows you to focus on delivering exceptional care without having to devote an inordinate amount of time to administrative duties such as marketing.
Unlike specialists, family medicine physicians care for the entire patient–from head to toe. This means a family medicine physician will never know what cases patients will bring through your door–from chronic illness to complicated medical and psychosocial issues to the common cold.
The variety of cases keeps physicians sharp, intellectually engaged and on their game as it relates to diagnostic skills. In addition, the variety of cases makes family medicine physicians incredibly valuable in research settings, where their clinical experience provides a real-world perspective to discussions that are often steeped in theory.
There is something that is incredibly rewarding about caring for patients across their lifespans. The family medicine physician often begins seeing patients when they are quite young and continues caring for them throughout their lives.
This longevity creates bonds between physician and patients that last lifetimes, improve outcomes and truly allows for shared decision-making when it comes to determining the best courses of action.
In a world where short office visits are more common, having the ability to really get to know patients is becoming increasingly rare–and perhaps the most rewarding aspect of being a family medicine physician.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, family medicine physicians consistently report higher levels of professional satisfaction than other physicians–and it is largely due to their ability to strike a better work-life balance.
Family medicine tends to offer a higher degree of flexibility than other medical specialties. Because they are in such high demand, they can typically pick their practice environment, practice focus, hours and settings (large urban hospital versus a smaller community hospital, for example).
These options allow family medicine physicians to strike a more rewarding work-life balance.
A family medicine physician can work anywhere in the country, from a community hospital to a small-town clinic to a bustling urban hospital complete with cath labs and helicopter pads.
Being able to choose the clinical setting in which you want to work is one of the most intriguing benefits of being a family medicine physician.
Many doctors cite a desire to work at community hospitals, where they are able to fully utilize the full range of their expanded functions, take on important leadership roles within the hospitals and enjoy the high quality of life that comes with living in a smaller community.
Elliot Health System is always interested in hearing from incredible family medicine physicians.
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