When I walked into my family medicine experience for the first time, I wasn’t expecting much. For as long as I’ve known that I wanted to be a physician, I’ve also pretty well known that family medicine is not where I think I’ll end up. Even still, I try to approach most new experiences in life with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow. Boy, am I so thankful for that mindset because my first day in family medicine was incredibly fascinating and rewarding.
Here are 3 things I learned from my first day in family medicine
1) You are a jack of all trades
Literally anything can walk through your door at any time. Whether the patients are old or young, new moms or someone coming in for a follow-up after testing, you are flexing all parts of your medical repertoire. It’s definitely daunting to think about how much there is to know. In saying that, it’s also incredible to think about all the learning you have ahead of you. More than anything, I learned that it’s ok to not know it all. The most important thing is being willing to identify those gaps and grow as a person and physician.
2) Silence is golden
Pauses. Pauses are magical. They let you as a student/Doctor mull over the information the patient just gave you. But more than that, they given the patient the space to think, speak, cry, or exhibit any other way of communicating that makes sense to them in that moment. As I continue to develop as a physician, I hope that I can take comfort in the silence and use it to bring strength to my patients.
3) Faith and medicine can work together
The family doctor that I have been placed with is religious, but you’d never know it. Unless of course the patient needs them to be. Today I saw that first hand. As a patient was struggling with a difficult home life, the topic of religion made its way into the conversation. A few moments later, the family doctor had suggested relevant biblical passages to help the patient find solace. While this approach will certainly not work for every doctor (and certainly not every patient), it was beautiful to see the involvement of faith in healing.
My family medicine placement will take place for 18 hours over the next 6 weeks. I know that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of my clinical training. That being said, I am so grateful that my school takes the initiative to provide such an enriching opportunity so early in our education. I know that no mater what specialty I end up in, this experience will undoubtedly stay with me for years to come.