Concepts of Family Medicine
Family Medicine encompasses the treatment of the patient as a whole — mind, body and spirit and as part of a family unit.
The objective is to provide the resident with the opportunity to achieve cognitive experience, psychomotor skills, attitudinal orientation, and practical knowledge required for the Family Physician in each of the curricular elements.
By offering these objectives, it is the intent of the Program to graduate an emphatic and compassionate physician who is also competent in treating the majority of maladies that trouble mankind.
In order to train Family Practice Physicians, the new residents must be taught to assume the responsibility for the total health care of the individual and the family, taking into account the social, physiological, economic, cultural, and biologic dimensions. To accomplish this, the training must be based on the "Core Curriculum" of Family Medicine, which includes continuity of care, family oriented comprehensive care, and clinic practice.
During the three years of training, instruction includes human behavior, community medicine, disease prevention, health promotion, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, practice management, conferences, and electives.
Continuity of care is taught and practiced in the ambulatory, in-patient, homecare, and domiciliary care settings, such as the nursing home or extended care facility and during referrals and consultations. These are integral functions of the Family Practice Center and rely heavily on community resources.
Concisely stated goals are:
- To develop expertise in the chosen branch of medicine through progressive scholarship and professional growth.
- To develop personal responsibility for safe, effective and compassionate patient care.
- To develop knowledge and skills necessary to become competent practitioners.
- To foster the development of teaching abilities and interpersonal relationships.
- To foster consciousness of cost in the provision of health care.
- To develop skills in evaluation techniques.
- To develop personal programs of self-study and professional growth.
Total care of the patient is a complex process, and is learned at so many levels. The hospitals, clinic, and the center have already been mentioned, but these are extended to include an elderly person's home, the sports arena, industrial complexes, schools and other sites requiring primary care medicine.
The experience is unique to this discipline, and attunes the physician to the individual needs of patients and their families. The physician should be able to treat at least 90% of the medical problems at these various sites in the community. Instruction should stress flexibility and adaptability so that the physician can meet the demands of practice.
The Family Physician must be able to perform well within the community and become an integral cog in the meshwork of the environment. The physician is an all-important member of society because so many individuals depend upon medical care, and the trust placed upon the physician must be honored. The other facets of community life are important also social, religious, economic and political, as well as a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Continuing medical education is another goal of Family Medicine. The physician is exposed to new trends, ideas and procedures during his three years of training at the program. Through journal club, lectures and physician interaction, the physician is stimulated to improve medical acumen, and as trends change and discoveries are made, the physician adapts his/her treatment accordingly. It is hoped that the physician will continue the process of learning through conferences and other CME activities after graduation from Family Medicine. The purpose of staying abreast of new trends is to provide the best care possible for patients.
The ability to recognize which problems require referral is of paramount importance. The Family Physician, although well trained and knowledgeable, does not possess certain skills that may be necessary to his or her patients.