Family medicine physicians are remarkable people! Not only do they know about multiple areas of medical practice, but they also must have (or develop) outstanding people skills.
Did you know that family medicine is a distinct specialty that future physicians select when they’re in medical school? If they choose subspecialties, that allows them to be the kinds of generalist doctors needed in family medicine but still have an extra area of expertise.
This article goes over the important work done by every doctor with a family medicine specialty. It also looks at subspecialties and certifications family medicine physicians can attain through additional course work.
The Main Role of a Family Medicine Physician
A family medicine physician is trained to provide comprehensive care. She works with a broad and diverse range of patients treating acute (or temporary) illnesses or injuries and monitoring chronic (or continuing) conditions.
Family medicine physicians have been called the “quarterbacks” of the team of healthcare providers. They administer vaccinations and other preventive measures and watch for signs of possibly emerging health conditions.
Family medicine physicians are among a handful of physician categories that are considered primary care providers. Others include internists, pediatricians, and obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYN).
Family Medicine Specialties or Subspecialties
Family medicine is a specialty on its own, but there are also a few subspecialties available to these doctors that benefit from their existing knowledge, skills, and experience. These include:
- Geriatric medicine—treating the elderly
- Adolescent medicine—treating teenagers and young adults
- Sports medicine—treats athletes and aspiring athletes
- Sleep medicine—helping those having trouble sleeping
- Pain medicine—helping patients to control and manage their pain
- Hospice and palliative care medicine—providing end-of-life care
- Emergency medicine—sees patients in the emergency department
Once certified in one of these subspecialties, a family care doctor must maintain Maintenance of Certification (MOC) with the field—just as he must also do in the field of family medicine.
Additional Physician Certifications and Courses for Family Medicine Doctors
Throughout any physician’s career, she is required to maintain certification by taking continuing education courses, some of which lead to certificates. These are offered by many authorized entities throughout the country and in various formats.
For example, the renowned Mayo Clinic offers courses such as the following:
- Connecting with Patients for Tobacco-Free Living – Online
- Management of Persistent Symptoms after Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Online
- Mayo Clinic Proceedings – Not All That Flattens Villi Is Celiac Disease: A Review of Enteropathies (April 1, 2018)
These are just a few of their many offerings, so there clearly is no shortage available for healthcare providers.
Another example of continuing education for doctors and other medical practitioners is the ultrasound courses for physicians available for those who are interested and would find this area helpful to their practice.
Have You Had Your Annual Physical?
There are doctors with family medicine specialties out there waiting to see you, whether they’re part of your regular healthcare team or practicing one of the family medicine subspecialties—like sports medicine.
We hope this article has helped you develop a better understanding of where and how family medicine physicians fit into the broader healthcare community. Without these “quarterbacks,” we’d all find it much harder to navigate the system.
Please keep reading our blog for more informational articles like this one. There’s always something new!