I just finished medical school... i am trying to decide between internal medicine and family medicine.. i like internal medicine and wish to specialize in infectious diseases but i know it can become stressful..family medicine is another choice for me since i have heard that it is less stressful especially since i am a single mom with a 6 yr old daughter... any one who is in family medicine out there, would you be able to share with me how the lifestyle is? Is it conducive to family life? How is the pay? Is it enough to pay off loans and raise a child? Does family medicine become too monotonous? I know these are a lot of questions, but i would appreciate if some one would be able to help me out!!
I did a year of internal medicine before switching and completing a family medicine residency. I felt FP better met my goals: outpatient emphasis rather than inpatient, more training in derm, gynecology, and orthopedics, and more elective time. Int Med offers the option of subspecialty training and if you want to do geriatrics, or hospitalist style medicine, IM is better. In terms of salary, the types of practice options themselves are so variable, it is hard to say. I would say that a comparable outpatient FP probably makes a similar income to an outpatient IM. I think personally it is a lot easier and less stressfull to take care of kids and young adults in my practice mixed in with older more complicated patients. With the influx of more midlevel providers and the growth in the number of pediatricians, the 'competitition for 'easier' patients is getting tough. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the challenging case every now and then. But when it seems every single patient has psycosocial issues, financial issues, transportation issues and numerous complicated medical problems (as is common with Medicare patients) it makes it very hard to get through your day when your practice administrators are pushing you to see 5 patients per hour and are looking at your productivity.
In terms of family life, it's a hard juggling act no matter what you choose. I think we bring the same high expectations to parenting that we bring to medicine. We adore our kids and want to there with them as much as possible. The truth is, there just isn't always enough time to give for both. Good luck with your decision. Feel free to PM me.
I have spent the last 21 years as an academic family physician in a large university medical school. That was the best choice for me, allowed me to have fairly regular hours and a fulfilling family life with three kids. I have probably averaged about every 7th or 8th night on call (once it was every 13, but then I covered 5 hospitals, 2 of them 12 miles away with no in-house ER doc). Teaching medical students was interesting and fulfilling, and I have pulled in a steady paycheck without too many practice management hassles, and without excessive productivity pressures. That being said, August 31 is my last day at the U. The politics eventually got to me, and the malpractice threat and the overall atmosphere in medicine today was just more than I cared to deal with anymore. The reason I can quit just like that is that I have a very generous state pension with paid health insurance waiting for me, 4 years down the road, I have been very careful with my money, and we own a fully-paid-for house that will net a nice profit when we downsize. My kids are just about grown, and it's time for me to enjoy life. I tried working part-time for the past year, but it didn't eliminate a lot of the problems that were bugging me to begin with, and it was a disagreement with a clueless department head over what constitutes part-time that led to my sudden decision to quit. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt so good that I knew it was the right thing to do. I'm still trying to convince my mother that I am not "wasting my education", though.