What is Involved in a Family Medicine Residency?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Med school graduates must complete a residency training program.
Med school graduates must complete a residency training program.

A family medicine residency is intended to train medical school graduates to become competent practitioners of family medicine. To this end, this type of residency allows each resident to be responsible for evaluating and treating patients under the supervision of experienced doctors and advanced residents. This type of training program is meant to expose a resident to a variety of conditions and medical care situations. For example, a resident will typically gain experience working in areas from cardiology, community medicine, and emergency medical care to general surgery, maternity, and pediatrics as part of the family medicine residency. In most cases, this type of residency provides experience with psychiatric patients as well.

Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.
Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.

In most cases, a family medicine residency program works to provide training that exposes a resident to the most common conditions and situations a family physician may encounter. As such, a family medicine residency will usually expose the resident to evaluating and treating patients in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Many family medicine residency training programs include training via home visits to patients' residences as well.

As part of a family medicine residency, a resident may be required to work in the program's outpatient clinic or a program-run family practice. In many cases, this requirement is minimal at first and gradually requires the resident to commit more time to the clinic, with the greatest time commitment required in the third year of residency. Residents usually have primary responsibility for evaluating, examining, and treating their own patients during a family medicine residency, though they typically do so under the supervision of other medical staff.

A family medicine residency typically includes an inpatient component as well. For this part of training, a resident is responsible for evaluating and treating patients who are in need of hospital care. A family medicine resident is usually responsible for a patient's care during his entire stay in the hospital. He provides this care, however, under the supervision of other medical staff. A family medicine resident may also consult with other doctors in an effort to provide his patients with the best possible care.

The training components of a family residency program are mandatory. A resident typically has an opportunity to take electives, however, which allow him to focus on the types of medicine that most interest him. Additionally, residents often also have the opportunity to teach and supervise other residents and medical students as they gain experience. Residency training may also include workshops and conferences as well as optional opportunities to participate in research projects.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Med school graduates must complete a residency training program.
      Med school graduates must complete a residency training program.
    • Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.
      Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.