Family medicine doctors are some of the best primary care physicians who can take care of you and your family. They can treat acute and chronic illnesses, provide preventive care, coordinate care with specialists, and even perform minor procedures. Becoming a doctor of family medicine is no small feat, but it is incredibly rewarding.
Curious how doctors pursue this specialization? Considering embarking on a journey to become a family medicine doctor? Here’s a comprehensive guide to get you started:
1. 4-Year Undergraduate Degree
Most medical schools require applicants to have completed an accredited four-year college degree program. An aspiring family medicine doctor’s coursework should include biology, chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. These courses help grasp the fundamentals of medical science. They also increase a person’s chances of being accepted into a medical school.
2. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
MCAT is a comprehensive standardized exam that assesses academic competency in several areas, including:
- Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems
- Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems
- Psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior
- Critical analysis and reasoning skills
The results of this exam are used as part of the application process for medical school. It is important to note that scores must be competitive to get accepted into a top-tier medical school.
3. Medical School
Aspiring family medicine doctors must complete four years of medical school. During this time, future doctors learn the fundamentals of medicine and gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations.
With the clinical rotations, doctors-in-training can specialize in family medicine and get a closer look at the field. They use this time by networking and learning from more experienced family physicians, whom they get to see practice medicine firsthand.
4. United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
USMLE is a three-step examination. It evaluates whether the doctor-in-training has the knowledge and skills to practice medicine safely and competently according to set standards. The USMLE is a necessary step for anyone who wishes to become a doctor in the United States.
5. Residency Training
After completing medical school and the USMLE, aspiring family medicine doctors must complete residency training in a hospital or clinic. A family medicine residency usually takes three years. It includes completing rotations in family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics/gynecology.
During this time, future doctors gain hands-on experience in treating patients and managing their care. Residency is excellent practice and ensures future doctors are fully prepared to practice medicine independently.
6. Board Certification
The next step to becoming a family medicine doctor is taking and passing the American Board of Family Medicine certification exam. Passing this exam allows doctors to become board-certified in family medicine and practice independently. It also shows that doctors have attained a high level of knowledge and experience in the field.
7. State Medical Licensure
Once the board exam is complete, doctors must pass a state medical licensing exam to practice medicine legally. Different states have different requirements for licensure.
These requirements may include the following:
- Taking additional exams
- Completing an ethics course
- Attending a certain number of continuing medical education (CME) courses
- Providing proof of good moral character
What Does a Family Medicine Physician Do?
Family medicine doctors provide comprehensive care for the entire family, from infants to elderly patients. They manage a wide range of health problems and can also provide preventive care. This includes immunizations, physical exams, health screenings, and more.
Additionally, family medicine providers often coordinate with other healthcare professionals to ensure their patients receive the best healthcare.
Some of the services that family medicine doctors provide are:
- Diagnosing and treating acute illnesses, like colds or the flu
- Managing chronic health issues such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension
- Performing physical examinations for school, work, or sports
- Prescribing medications when needed and providing patient education
- Referring patients to specialists for further care, when necessary
- Performing minor surgical procedures, such as circumcision, wart removals, and stitches
- Caring for the emotional and mental health of patients
Family Medicine Near You in Wellington & Royal Palm Beach, FL
Becoming a family medicine doctor is no easy feat. It requires dedication, hard work, and passion for the well-being of others. Family medicine doctors complete four years of medical school, residency training, board certification exams, and state licensure. They provide comprehensive care for the entire family and refer patients to specialists when needed. It is a fulfilling and rewarding career for those who choose to pursue it.
Looking for family medicine near you in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach? You can depend on the best Wellington family practice, Advanced Medical. Our trusted, experienced, and compassionate family medicine doctors are excited to care for you and your family. Call our friendly staff today at (561) 434-1935. You can also submit a secure appointment request form to book a visit with the best family doctors in Wellington.