On the second day of medical school orientation, we played ‘Get to Know You’ Bingo, where people sign their names on the squares of a bingo sheet that describe them. I signed almost everyone’s square for ‘Wants to practice family medicine’. Reactions ranged from, “Oh really?” to, most memorably, “Actually, or are you just saying that for the game?”
Family medicine has made great strides in the last decade, with interest increasing dramatically according to CaRMS statistics. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of the hidden curriculum. Classmates seem almost embarrassed in discussions on specialty choices. “I guess I’ll just go into family med.” “I’m thinking about just doing family med.” “You’re just going to be a family doc? But you’re so smart!”
Just. What an interesting word. Family physicians are the gatekeepers to the healthcare system: the first point of contact for their patients. They care for individuals (and often their entire families) for decades at a time. Many are involved in policy-making and advocacy for both the profession as a whole as well as their patients. If that’s just what a family physician does, there should be a great deal of pride in being “Just” a Family Physician.
The Family Medicine Interest Group is calling on family physicians across Canada to tell students more about what they do on a daily basis. Show us what being “Just” a Family Physician entails. Email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will be posted here as well as Twitter & Facebook using the hashtag #justafp.
Thank you for all that you do.
Sr. Chair, Family Medicine Interest Group
College of Medicine, University of Manitoba