As a family medicine physician, you treat (or will treat) patients in all phases of the life cycle, from childhood through adulthood. Because of this, you have many options to choose from when it comes to finding a place to work. Here’s a look at some of the most common and some of the not-so-common workplaces where you can find family medicine physicians.
Family Medicine Practice
It’s quite obvious that the majority of family medicine physicians would be employed in a family medicine practice. In a family medicine practice, you’re likely to serve as the primary care physician for families. Many families choose one physician, rather than choosing a different physician for each member for their specific stage of life. You also have two options when it comes to working in a family medicine practice: to work alongside others or to open your own practice (group vs. solo practice).
Group practices are run by two or more physicians, either in the same specialty or not. This doesn’t really matter as a family medicine physician, as you have training in various areas of medicine for various age groups.
On the other hand, you can start your own practice where you’re the only practicing physician. This option gives you the most independence and you make all of the decisions regarding your practice, but all responsibilities will be in your hands as well, including:
- Always being on call
- Office expenses
- Responsible for billing
Of course, you can hire an office manager, a receptionist, and nurses, but you’ll be the only physician in a solo practice.
Multispecialty Group Practice
Many group practices are multi-specialty, meaning that you’ll find physicians in various specialties all working in one building under one name. As a family medicine physician, you can easily assimilate into a multispecialty practice— even if the specialty is not your desired career path— since you’ll provide general care for patients of all ages. You’ll also enjoy the same benefits associated with working in a group practice since this type of practice is made up of physicians with different specialties. Some examples of specialties that may fall under a multispecialty group practice include:
Multispecialty group practices are more likely to combine different internal medicine specialties (i.e., cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, nephrology, oncology, and rheumatology) to enhance patient access. However, because internal medicine doctors tend to focus on adult health, this is the age group you’re more likely to work with.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Family medicine physicians can find work in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) offices as well. OB/GYNs provide care for the female reproductive system. Many women will choose a family medicine physician as their primary care provider, as family medicine physicians can provide basic gynecological care, such as breast exams, pap smears, and STD screenings. The general rule of thumb is that healthy women can see just a family medicine physician.
Of course, as a family medicine physician, you can refer your female patients to an OB/GYN— and this is where working in an OB/GYN office or multispecialty practice can be beneficial. Also, pregnant women must be seen by an obstetrician, but they can go back to seeing a family medicine doctor after pregnancy.
As a family medicine physician, you can also find work in a pediatric office. Pediatricians’ patients are infants, children, and adolescents— the same age group that you’d treat in just about any other setting as a family medicine physician. Just as with working in an OB/GYN office, you’ll be limited to working with a specific group of patients. Pediatricians, however, do have more in-depth knowledge of pediatrics, so referring a patient to a pediatrician may be necessary in some cases. This is especially true when it comes to pediatric internal medicine.
Just as with an OB/GYN office, you’ll have the basic knowledge and training to treat children and adolescents, as you’d be treating this age group in a traditional family medicine practice.
You can also find employment in hospitals, medicine clinics, and other types of medical settings, so the possibilities for employment are abundant. Careers in medicine in general are going to be around and abundantly available for some time to come since healthcare is a service needed by virtually everyone. Overall, it depends on the type of medical setting you’d like to work in, whether it be alongside other physicians or having a practice of your own.