Tag: doctor

The Daily Life of a Family Practitioner

The Daily Life of a Family Practitioner

daily life family practitionerThe family practitioner represents the stereotypical doctor—a generalist who helps maintain the well-being of people. This includes well-patient visits to upset stomachs to respiratory illnesses. Classically, these doctors also performed in-house visits before offices existed.

Daily Clinical Lifestyle 

Family medicine physicians typically train for three years of residency after medical school. Afterward, clinical practice typically involves outpatient care. Hours worked are relatively reasonable in the 9am-5pm range, or 8am to 5pm five days a week. A family practitioner typically sees approximately 15-25 patients per day. Many of these are well-patient visits to sick visits. Illnesses treated include hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, upper respiratory illnesses, sinusitis, and musculoskeletal issues.

Stress levels are relatively low, except for the occasional hospital-bound sick patient. Even then, most family practitioners opt not to have hospital privileges. In these cases, Hospitalists take care of inpatients and offer a buffer to a more sanitary lifestyle of an outpatient based family practitioner.

Documentation and increasing requirements for patient volume tend to be the common stressors in this field.  Overall, the lifestyle of a family medicine practitioner is very manageable in the spectrum of physician specialties.

Concierge Medicine 

One of the advantages of a family medical practice is that equipment needs are relatively low. This allows the doctor to have increased flexibility to perform exams both in the office and even at the patient’s residence. One possible venue to combat against the ever increasing number of clinic patients as governed by insurance companies is to care for patients on a per subscription basis. This allows patients to have more exclusive access to their doctor while allowing the doctor to personalize care to a smaller number of patients. Does this translate to a higher income? Likely, but the compromise is that the stakes will be higher and the clientele will likely be more demanding. Expect to see more family medicine doctors transitioning to concierge medicine in the future.

Perils of being a family practitioner.

Healthcare will always continue to become more complex. Increasing regulations, increasing number of administrators, and increasing healthcare costs will continue to squeeze all doctors. “Physician extenders” have become a more common term these days to describe adjunct nursing staff to assist with healthcare. Some of these physician assistant and nursing positions have frighteningly similar daily tasks as a family practitioner. Will the role of a family practitioner be obviated in the future? Who knows, but I would assume that there should be distinguishing between someone with a medical degree and that of everyone else.

Are you a family practitioner? Are there other aspects of your field that you would like to add?

(Photo courtesy of Flickr).

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Doctors must achieve a baseline level of financial competency

As doctors, we don’t need to be financial gurus (a la Bill Bernstein), but we must establish a baseline level of financial competency.

This doesn’t even mean that you have to like finance, numbers, or even money. Our medical licensure mandates a certain number CME credits to stay current; the same is true for our financial knowledge. It really doesn’t take much time either. You also don’t need to know everything in detail, just the basics and enough to make educated decisions, hold a conversation with your tax advisor, or money manager.

Start slowly. Sign up for our monthly newsletter. Pick up a book. Read two hours a month. Increase as needed. It’s not a race, but the more time you spend on the subject, the better off you will be. Trust us.


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Basics of job hunting for the new doctor

Job hunting for the new doctor requires diligence

Unless we decide to open up our own medical practice, most of us end up seeking out employment after a decade of medical training. There are fundamental questions that we should ask ourselves, our family, and our potential employer before agreeing on employment. This will be the first of several entries dedicated to the greenhorn doctor.

While these suggestions are written from the perspective of a medical doctor, they are applicable to most medical professions (dentristy, nursing, physician assistants…etc) and even to other professions.

1. Geography. Do we need to live close to our extended family? Do you need to be in California? Do you want to pay for $4/gal gasoline? Do you need family help for childcare? In some ways, being tied to a certain region can make subsequent decision making easier. As we probably have already experienced during training, being near family and friends can determine the difference between happiness and misery.

2.  Do you want to conduct research? Traditionally, research opportunities have been tied down to large university settings, but many hospitals and medical practices have their own research departments. This question has become less clear cut over the years. Obviously if you wanted to conduct advanced basic science or obscure research, you’d want to stick with a university setting.

3. Realize that perfect jobs rarely exist. Your dream career job might exist, but maybe you have to move Alaska to do so! (Nothing wrong with Alaska)

4. Realize that even though you may be a scientist, clinician, or healthcare worker, finances dictate our existence (to a certain extent). Make sure that you are getting compensated adequately for your level of education and time. (More on this topic in future posts).

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5. Travel. If you are taking a travelling nursing position, consider the importance of family and how often you will need to travel, and how you travel (do you drive, do you fly, or take a ferry?). Such opportunities may be exciting initially, but may burn you out after years of it.

6. Realize that experience belies every opportunity. It might take two or ten jobs before you find a perfect one. In the process of finding a perfect career, you will make mistakes but you will also learn from them.

Questions? Sound out below!