I had my first day of family medicine clinic today, and it was terrific. I'm at Beachwood Family Health Center, which is one of the CCF suburban family health centers. I did two half-days with two different preceptors: one from 8 AM-12 PM, and then again from 1 PM-5:30 PM. Unlike the IM clinic I worked in for the last two years, the family med docs don't cut back their patient schedule to accomodate the medical students. So there were at least a dozen patients on the schedule for each half day, which is twice as many as there are in the IM clinics. Today I saw seven patients on my own, presented them all to my preceptors, wrote SOAP notes on each one, and logged them all. I also went into the rooms with my preceptors for three or four other patients.
I had expected family med to be fairly monotonous after hearing some of my classmates' experiences with their suburban longitudinal clinics last year, but my patients were surprisingly diverse and interesting. The very first patient I saw had been diagnosed by a specialist with an extremely rare disease that the doc had never even heard of before. I knew what the disease was, but only because I just took Step 1 and it was one of those ostensibly pointless things to memorize in First Aid (the Step 1 review book). Now I'm glad that I learned that info! After that, we had to send the second patient for an immediate specialist consult due to concerns that what she thought was a minor problem might be a medical emergency. (This turned out to be a false alarm, fortunately.) The rest of the patients weren't quite as exciting as these two, but they were still a varied lot, from kids with sports injuries to elderly people with twelve different comorbidities and two pages worth of medications. All in all, it was a really good day, and I'm excited about going back tomorrow.