After my last pediatric blog post, I got a lot of requests for Family Medicine outpatient tips. I didn’t have a blog when I finished my past two rotations, so here I am making up for lost time. All of my family medicine rotations have been in rural and/or medically underserved sites. Primary care gets a bad reputation as one of the lowest paid specialties, but as student I’ve learned the most in family med.
Family medicine providers are essentially a jack of all trades (you must know a little about everything) and patients come in with different acuity levels, disease progression, and co-morbidities. Your communication skills improve as you often have to explain procedures, labs, and conditions in laymen’s terms. My preceptor use to say “if you cannot explain it to your patients, then you don’t really understand it!” Wiser words have never been spoken.
As a primary care provider, you're responsible for managing the bulk of your patient's health concerns, both acute and chronic diseases. In a perfect world, you'd see a patient for one or the other. In reality, a lot of patients present with acute problems complicated by HTN, DM, CKD, CHF, the list goes on. As a student, perhaps the most difficult part of family medicine is chronic disease management, but know that this gets better with time and experience. I'm writing like I've been doing this my whole life (I haven't haha), but I'm becoming more comfortable in my clinical judgment little by little. I'm working my way through it all and I’ve been lucky to have incredible preceptors to guide me.
Anyway, enough about me.... I pass along these tips in hopes they will help you!
If I missed a great resource, please let me know in the comments! Hope these helped!