dcsimg

Career Story: Family Physician

Family Physician

Job Title: Family Physician

Type of Company: I am an employee of a company that seeks to provide medical help to people who do not have insurance.

Education: BS, Biology, Bethel University •• MD, University of Minnesota

Previous Experience: I needed to have experience in the medical field in order to be accepted into medical school so I worked as a tech for heart monitors in a hospital for about a year before med school.

Job Tasks: I arrive each day at about 7:30. Our charts are on the computer, so I log in and check any blood test results, answer any questions that patients called in with the ay before and write prescriptions for medications that patients will need before their next scheduled visit. Patients start arriving at 8AM. My nurse puts the patient I am scheduled to see in a room and takes his blood pressure. Then I go into the room, talk to the patient and examine him (or her), and we discuss a plan to deal with the medical problem. It usually involves prescriptions or tests, which I order before the patient departs. Then I write a note based on our conversation and my exam. The writing of the notes usually takes a while; they need to be in a very specific form so that other physicians can read them and understand what happened at the visit. The note also is what would be brought up at a trial if I got sued.

I usually spend my lunch hour working on those notes. During the day, people often call in and ask for appointments that day or the next day. If there is room in the schedule, the front desk usually fills the spaces. If not, my nurse usually calls the patient back and asks what the symptoms are to help the patient decide if he should go to the ER or not. Most of my patients come to follow up on chronic medical problems like high blood pressure or diabetes; they feel fine when they come in and we talk about what their blood pressure is doing or what their blood test results are. I usually leave the office between 5 and 6.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my work is that I get to talk to people for a living. I get to work with people who are at a place in life where they want to make changes. I am trusted. I have the option of working part-time (and have chosen it: I work about 25 hours a week).

The worst part of my job is behind me, thank God: my medical residency I worked 60-80 hours a week for three years after medical school, a required part of becoming a board-certified physician. Those hours included 30 hour shifts and working on weekends. (I probably had 1 weekend off per month). I had some choice in where I wanted to do a residency, but the residency assignments, once made, were final and I ended up in Iowa, which was about my sixth choice. I was doing residency at an age when I wanted to be having babies, in my late 20's. I could have had a baby and would have gotten six weeks maternity leave. But then going back to work 60 hours a week didn't sound fun to me when the baby wouldn't be sleeping through the night yet. So I waited. I'm 34 and my first child is one year old.

I finished medical school in 2003 with $125,000 of debt.

Job Tips:
1. Take science classes in college: biology, histology, biochemistry. Some are pre-requisites for medical school, some not.

2. Think long and hard about your dreams for the rest of your life: family, where you want to live...

3. If you have a significant other, have a long conversation about what your lifestyle will be like during residency (medical school is actually much easier than residency). You will not be home much. If you are single, you may end up marrying someone from medical school; many from my class did (and I was one of them).

Additional Thoughts: Think about your financial situation. Medical school tuition has risen dramatically in the last 10 years. Right now, I make enough money to pay off my debt. However, with potential big changes coming in health care in the US, I think doctors will make a lot less money than they do now and it will be much harder to pay off school debt.

Popular Schools offering Allied Health Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.

  • Programs: Diploma - Medical Office Billing Specialist, A.S. - Medical Billing & Coding, Diploma - Medical Billing & Coding, more...
  • Degrees: Diploma, Associate
Brightwood College
Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Clovis, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, Vista

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

  • Programs: Medical Billing & Coding Specialist , Healthcare Assistant, Medical Assistant , more...
  • Degrees: Diploma, Associate
Intercoast Colleges
Elk Grove, Fairfield

Get your career started with Intercoast Colleges.

  • Programs: Medical Assistant
  • Degrees: Certificate
California College San Diego
National City, San Diego

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

  • Programs: Medical Specialties (AOS)
  • Degrees: Associate
Unitek College
Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Sacramento, San Jose, South San Francisco

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

  • Programs: Medical Assisting
  • Degrees: Certificate
Platt College
Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Medical Assisting
  • Degrees: Associate
UEI College
Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Fresno, Gardena, San Marcos, Stockton

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

  • Programs: Medical Billing & Insurance Coding (8-Month Diploma Program), Medical Assistant (8-Month Diploma Program), Medical Office Specialist
  • Degrees: Diploma
Institute of Technology
Clovis, Modesto

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

  • Programs: Professional Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Office Administration
  • Degrees: Certificate

Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.

  • Programs: Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program, Medical Assistant Program
  • Degrees: Certificate

Get the hands-on training you need to succeed at Blake Austin College.

  • Programs: Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Degrees: Certificate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for General Practitioners

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about General Practitioners, including: