A career in family medicine means providing general health care to individuals and families. Rather than focusing on children, elderly people, men, or women alone, a person in this field cares for people of both sexes, of all ages, and with a wide variety of issues. The different types of family medicine jobs include physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and nursing positions. These jobs typically involve the evaluation, treatment, and prevention of a range of conditions, illnesses, and injuries. Additionally, family medicine jobs also involve consulting with other health care practitioners and sometimes referring individuals to specialists.
One of the most well-known family medicine jobs is that of a physician. Often, family medicine physicians act as primary health care providers and provide families and single individuals with examinations, diagnoses, and treatments for a range of illnesses and conditions. A family medicine doctor can also prescribe medication, perform some minor surgeries, and refer individuals to specialists on an as-needed basis. For example, a family medicine doctor may refer a person with a heart condition to a cardiologist for heart-related care yet still see the patient for all of his other health care needs. To prepare for this career, a person has to graduate from college and medical school and then complete a three-year residency training, which is at-work training for doctors.
Physicians assistants can also seek family medicine jobs. In this position, a licensed individual provides health care under the supervision of a family doctor. He might perform such tasks as examining patients, recording medical histories, ordering tests, and administering some types of treatment. He may also help with patient diagnosis. To become a physician assistant, a person usually has to complete a physician's assistant program at a college, community college, or vocational school and then pass an examination to obtain licensing.
Nurse practitioners may also take jobs in this field. These health care professionals usually perform many of the same tasks as family medicine doctors, including minor surgery in some places. Whether or not a nurse practitioner can prescribe medication usually depends on the jurisdiction in which he is located, and in some places, he may have to defer to a physician for writing prescriptions. Even when this is not required, however, family medicine nurse practitioners usually work closely with family doctors. To seek a job in this field, a person must usually earn a master's degree in nursing, hold a registered nurse license, and pass a licensing exam.
Many family medicine jobs are intended for nurses. These health care professionals provide care for family medicine patients under the supervision of doctors, physician's assistants, or nurse practitioners. They help evaluate and treat patients, and they often have a good deal of interaction with patients. They often run tests, administer first aid, record medical histories, and educate patients about conditions and injuries. Usually, a person must complete a two- to four-year nurse education program and then pass a licensing exam to become a nurse.