< Become a Doctor
Why You Should Consider Family Medicine
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara discusses the role of family physicians and why family medicine is a specialty worth considering.
If you intend to become a doctor, what type of doctor will you be? If you’re not sure, you are in good company. Many people who plan to attend medical school are indecisive about their specialty, and some maintain this indecisiveness even after becoming doctors! Often, people who are not quite sure which specialty to choose and do not want to be limited decide to be family physicians. Could this be the right path for you to take? Read on to learn more about the kind of person for whom the field of family medicine may be a good fit and why this career path might be the right option for you.

•    Being a family physician offers plenty of variety. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to do the same thing every day, you might really enjoy being a family physician. No two days are the same in family medicine, because family doctors take care of people of all ages and from all backgrounds. In a highly specialized field, you can end up feeling limited because you’re so focused on just one facet of medicine, like neurology or surgery. If you were a med student who enjoyed some facet of each of your rotations, you’ll enjoy being a family physician, because family doctors can structure their careers in a way that allows them to do a little bit of everything.

•    Family physicians are problem solvers. Medicine is not always a straightforward science. Diagnosing patients and creating treatment plans requires clear thinking and creativity, and family doctors need to be resourceful. In some cases, the first treatment plan a doctor comes up with won’t be viable for the patient, especially if the person doesn’t have healthcare coverage. Family physicians need to be able to think on their feet and come up with solutions that work for each individual patient, regardless of means. They need to think outside prescriptions, looking at patients in a more holistic way to find treatments that are the right fit for the unique situation with which they’re faced.

•    Good communicators make good family physicians. Having a firm grasp of medical knowledge and the technical skills of a healer are both valuable skills for a family doctor, and doctors who keep up their mastery through continuing education will be well equipped to treat patients. However, these are not the only qualities important for a good family doctor. A family physician needs to empathize with patients and know how to give them the information they need clearly, in a way that’s easy for the average person to understand. A comforting bedside manner is crucial, and it can mean the difference between a good family doctor and a great one. Further, as communities become ever more diverse, knowing other languages is a valuable skill for family doctors to have. Speaking Spanish, for instance, can be a major asset when it comes to communicating with patients, and will give you a broader range of job opportunities.

•    Building relationships is an important part of being a family physician. Family doctors tend to see the same patients every year, often treating entire families. If you’re someone who loves people, this could be the perfect specialty for you. Unlike surgeons, who see people only a few times, often during one of the worst times of their lives, family physicians get to see children grow up, share in families’ highs and lows, and be a valuable part of their lives. Primary care is another specialty that focuses on building relationships, but family medicine is even more relationship oriented.

•    Family physicians are leaders. Patients are typically served by a healthcare team, but family physicians often call the shots. In addition to communicating with family members, they need to take the lead on communication with other providers. What’s more, family doctors are expected to be comfortable handling a wide variety of medical issues on their own, with no help from another doctor.

•    The flexibility of being a family physician facilitates work-life balance. Family practice opens a wide range of possibilities in terms of work and scheduling. In fact, the variety available to family physicians starts during training! As residents, family practitioners have a much larger selection of residencies than many other specialties, making the interview process far less stressful. They get to decide whether they want to serve in a hospital, as an OB-Gyn, in palliative care, and so on, without being limited by their specialty. What’s more, the residency is shorter than many other residencies, so family physicians are finished in three to four years. This allows them to begin earning more money and building lives outside of medical training, perhaps starting a family or buying a home, much sooner than people who are training to be a surgeon or some other complicated specialty. Once family doctors complete their training, they can do inpatient or outpatient work, work in a hospital emergency room, have a private practice, or some hybrid of a few of these. They can focus on one age group or see the whole spectrum, treat every patient who needs care or find their niche and stay with that one group. Because family doctors are needed everywhere, they have far greater possibilities as to location than some specialties, so they have the opportunity to live where they want to live instead of where the job takes them. Family physicians can even take on second jobs, working in a clinic during the day and moonlighting as emergency department doctors, for example. Being a family physician allows you the freedom to have the career you want, building it around the life you want.

•    Family physicians are in huge demand. Because there are so many career opportunities for family physicians, there will never be a shortage of jobs. In fact, there is currently a shortage of primary care physicians, including family physicians. Family physicians are necessary, and with telemedicine on the rise, many family doctors are seeing patients virtually for minor ailments. In some cases, they can even end up in a career that involves as much or as little direct patient contact as they choose. Because the need is so great, the flexibility is also great, and the job opportunities are nearly endless.

•    If you’re looking for a career with a higher purpose, consider becoming a family physician. Why do you want to become a doctor? If you are looking for a way to give back to your community, there are few positions more suited for this purpose. Family medicine is a wonderful way to serve the community, providing all different types of care to many different kinds of people. Often, family physicians treat patients holistically, eliminating the need for costly tests and medicines. Because they have relationships with their patients, they can spot problems earlier than an emergency room doctor who is meeting the patient for the first time in the middle of a crisis, and this often means more effective treatment and a better outcome. And beyond the benefits they provide to individual patients, in saving costs, and to the community, in protecting community health, they’re uniquely suited to help the disadvantaged. Often disadvantaged communities have a disproportionate amount of chronic illnesses among their people. They need primary care physicians, particularly family doctors, to help manage these conditions, providing not only care, but also education to help keep sickness at bay. Additionally, family doctors are in the perfect position to identify health issues in their broader community and advocate on their patients’ behalf. They can provide valuable resources in areas that would otherwise be underserved. 

Do you think you have what it takes to be a family physician? If you’re a compassionate, communicative person with a deep desire to help not only individuals but also the community as a whole, you’re exactly the type of doctor the world needs to work with families. When you’re ready to take the first step toward a meaningful career, becoming a family physician begins with finding the right medical school. When you’re looking for a medical school with a deep-rooted tradition of quality, look into Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. The first medical school in Latin America to offer a US-style curriculum, we are committed to cultivating future physicians who have the skills and abilities necessary to meet the challenges of personal and community health. With the best facilities in Guadalajara, state-of-the-art laboratories, and a close working relationship with many of the hospitals in the city, we are able to provide an excellent educational experience for our students both on campus and in the field. With the goal of preparing graduates for careers as physicians where they can provide individuals, families, and communities with outstanding preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services, our medical school offers a curriculum of excellence. We prepare our students to heal and serve their community, and we encourage them to strive for innovation, academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to society. For more information about our college of medicine, call 833-220-7645 or contact us through our website


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