Family Practice Physician Employment Expected to Rise

While they are often the most visited physicians in the country, there is an increasing shortage in the number of family practice physicians. The trend began almost 4 years ago, when statisticians noticed that less and less graduating medical students were choosing primary care, or family practice, as their specialization. In a recent survey conducted by Merritt Hawkins & Associates, for the Physicians’ Foundation, it was found that about 150,000 (or half) of the country’s family practice physicians planned to quit practicing or see fewer patients over the next three years. With less family medicine physicians entering the workplace and more physicians leaving family practice, it is sure to create an abundance of available employment opportunities.

Physicians, who are in the phase of choosing a specialty, have been gravitating towards other, more focused, fields of medicine. With the ability to charge a premium and focus on one particular region of medicine, choosing a focused specialty can be alluring and lucrative. Having found their particular niche in medical school, or perhaps during internship, most prospective physicians are choosing to remain within that focus when seeking employment. Family practice treats a broad audience, and a broad knowledge is needed in order to properly treat these patients. While it may not be as enticing, it is often just as rewarding.

What seems to be shocking is the finding that family practice physicians are planning to leave their practices, or reduce their number of patients over the next three years. Many physicians cite frustrations with the current Medicare reimbursement structure. When Medicare does not reimburse the physician for the full cost of the services provided to the patient, the physician is forced to bill the remaining balance to the patient. It is often that these patients are unable to pay the remaining balance because they are elderly citizens living on a fixed income, and many of them do not carry supplemental health coverage. Physicians who are self employed, working as an independent practice, cite that they have experienced a dramatic increase in the required non-clinical paperwork required by Medicare.

We all know how frustrating paperwork can be! With all the complaints filed it’s important to consider that although family practice physicians may be feeling it more strongly, these are concerns that have been voiced by physicians throughout the industry.

With the shortage of primary care physicians comes great hope for those seeking employment opportunities. There is growing availability in almost every area of the country, but specifically rural areas. With patients in great need of finding an established family practice, there are also growing opportunities for physicians looking to start their own practices. Small groups of physicians are opening family practices in farming communities and are finding it difficult to keep up with the amount of patients wishing to be seen. They are able to work together and spread the responsibilities of patient care, hospital rounds and call duties among the participating physicians. Often, they are successful enough to offer salaries and benefit structures that are competitive with urban markets. Additionally, these rural family practices serve the community, not only by providing much needed health care, but also by providing employment for support personnel.

Family Practice Examination: How A Good Board Review Helps

Are you panicking about the family practice examination? Wondering how to plod through mounds of information and case studies? With some basic preparation, you can easily sail through the family practice examination.

The first thing to do is to brush up on your basics. It seems like a trifle, but a good theoretical grounding in the basics of family practice means you are already one step closer to cracking the examination. Learn all the important points and take into reckoning all the probable questions that can come in the examination. Make lists of answers, and keep your question and answer list ready for easy reference while you study. The information is too vast and varied for you to know it all, so it makes sense to remember the crucial points. Try using mnemonics and other memory aids to help you memorize information.

Supplementing what you are learning with visuals is useful. Diagrams and illustrations help to visually support what you have learnt only through text. After all, medicine is all about practical application so the more you know about the human body, it prepares you better for the family practice board review examination.

It is a good idea to take a mock-test before the actual examination to check if you have assimilated all that you studied. And, if your mock-test does not go too well, you always know that you have time to prepare. You also get a fair idea of which topics you need to revise more. Taking a test in the simulated environment of an actual examination can go a long way in helping calm your jitters on the d-day.

Several institutes offer family practice board review courses. Check them out to see if they contain all that you need to pass the examination with confidence. A good family practice board review course not only presents all the information you would need in a structured manner, it also offers dynamic lectures, audio CDs and visual aids to help you prepare easily. While self-study is always useful, systematic study under good instructors can help clarify any doubt about a topic. Plus, the courses have case-studies to help you understand how the theories that you read of have been applied in practice.

The Ostler’s Institute in Indiana offers an array of family practice board review courses designed to help you face the examination with confidence. Their courses feature interactive lectures, visual aids such as picture quizzes, and auditory aids in the form of MP3s.

Nursing Careers – Becoming a Family Nursing Practitioner

If you find fulfillment in building long-term relationships with patients to the point that you personally know their kids or their other relatives by name and you exchange urbane scrubs free shipping gifts on holidays and maybe invite each other during birthdays and other special occasions, then being a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) may just be the right specialization for you. FNPs or simply, family nurses, enjoy a rich and varied work environment, opportunities for personal growth, and not to mention, very competitive salaries. Also, the demand for family nurse practitioners is expected to increase quite significantly for the next ten years.

Requirements for becoming a family nurse

To become a family nurse practitioner, you need to take up further studies on top of being a registered nurse, typically a Master’s in Science degree, which takes about one to two years; after which you will have to pass a state board of national certification exam. Agencies that offer certification include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The role of the family nurse

The family nurse specializes in family medicine and provides a wide range of patient care to different groups of patients, focusing on disease prevention and health promotion beginning in childhood and continues all throughout adulthood, being a witness to an individual’s aging process. The family nurse performs many duties that are commonly performed only by physicians and cares for a patient through the cycle of family life. The family nurse also provides specialty care such as perinatal and gynecological care, as well as a broad range of care services and is trained to diagnose and build treatment plans for chronic and acute diseases. He or she may prescribe interventions through physical exams, interviews, and diagnostic and lab testing, as well as prescribe medications and treatments to patients. Counseling and providing education are also part of the job.

Typical career path for FNPs

Before they became family nurse practitioners, a lot of FNPs practiced as RNs (registered nurses) as nursing staff in hospitals or other medical facilities. They usually go back to school after some years of experience and earn their master’s degree to become an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN). APN have advanced training and commonly deliver some medical services that are reserved only for physicians.

Work settings

One of the best perks about becoming a family nurse is being able to work in flexible and autonomous settings; unlike registered nurses family nurses can be their own boss. Family nurses can work in a wide variety of settings including private offices, nurse-managed healthcare centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospice centers, clinics, schools, homes, and community-based settings. There are various specific roles that FNPs can take including patient and staff educator, case manager, researcher, policy-maker, and administrator.

Typical salaries

Nurse practitioners in general get paid better than registered nurses. On average they make $20,000 more per year than the base salaries of RNs across the country. Because family nurses can manage their own practice, they can increase their income substantially with a bit of entrepreneurial savvy.

Concierge Medicine Doctors – Patients Retention Higher Than Others

According to 2010 poll results conducted among retainer-based and boutique physicians from across the U.S. in May of 2010, findings indicate that 60% of these types of physicians retain their members for roughly 7 to 9 years and longer. These polls have also found that the national retention average for a traditional physician (i.e primary care, family practice, internist, etc.) participating with multiple insurance companies, managed care, etc., retained their people for about 5 to 7 years. I believe this number will only increase as people find out how affordable and relational these types of practices and doctors really are.

It’s unfortunate that somewhere between the late 1950’s and the year 2010, the connection between the doctor and his or her patient was lost. Long gone are the days where our doctor carries a medical bag and visits my house. When medicine became regulated by the government that relationship was quickly eroded and eventually extinguished from our home and our memory. It’s not to say that some form of administration needed to be formulated back then, but now administrative tasks and regulation tasks take up most of the time of our doctors that they must look at a chart or a file to know our name.

In my conversations and surveys with numerous boutique, retainer and direct primary care physicians from across the country, these doctors offices needed to complete eight pages of paper work for one patient to receive a $4 prescription. In this new business model of primary care and family medicine popping up across the U.S., hundreds of doctors have learned that there is a better way.

Why will it grow?

Relationship! Relationship! Relationship! This movement in medicine is based on relationship. When I have a doctor that I know I can call day or night and that he will actually pick up the phone, that’s priceless…and that’s true relationship.

Because this movement is relatively young and data to support the exact number people at any given concierge medical practice for longer than 10-15 years is limited. However, I believe that as we continue to track in the years ahead and follow retention data of these practices that we will learn just how happy so many people are with these types of old-fashioned health care delivery model offices verses a traditional primary care practice. Soon, we’ll find the “happiness” and “healthy” gap between them to be much greater.

Figuratively, this longer-lasting and more personal relationship will result in greater retention data and further solidify concierge medicine’s rightful place in the healthcare market. These types of doctors emphasize that what’s important to people is  true relationship with their doctor and actual dollar-cost savings each month and every year. These are key findings and critical factors in the renewals of membership medicine or direct primary care plans from across the country. I’m very glad to know that there are no a lot of doctors working smarter, not harder and are keeping people coming back year after year. Indeed, there is renewable energy to be found in this form of medicine.

A Family Medicine Career

On average, a family medical physician sees ten to twenty patients per day, and spends approximately fifteen minutes of his or her workday with each patient. A family medical doctor is a primary care physician who treats men and women of all ages. More often than not, he or she treats each individual member of an entire family. Delivering comprehensive health care, the family medical physician is also responsible for prescribing and managing preventive medications for his or her patients.

In the United States, a family practitioner holds either an M.D. or a D.O. degree. He or she must complete a three-year family medicine residency, after medical school, before working as a primary care physician. Family practice can have many attractive qualities that may lead a physician to research the topic further. Family medicine physicians enjoy the luxury of pre-set, standing office hours. As physicians in other fields of medicine will attest, a set daily schedule is a rarity. While the family physician could potentially work long hours, weekends, and holidays, this is very rarely the case for family practice physicians.

Training

A family practice physician is required to complete undergraduate school, followed by medical school, and then a three-year family medicine residency. During residency, a physician will explore the many different aspects of family medicine. A family medical doctor is required, during residency, to rotate through the individual branches of family practice, including but not limited to: geriatrics, gynecology, internal medicine and pediatrics.

A family medical physician treats everyone, no matter his or her race, age, gender, or condition. Usually a specialist has focus in a certain field of practice. The family physician is a database of general, medical knowledge that allows him or her to treat the whole patient, as well as the whole family. Often working as a solo practitioner of his or her practice, a family practice physician may also choose to work as a part of an ensemble of practitioners, all within with the same facility. Most doctors spilt their daily efforts between their private practices and the community hospital.

For all intents and purposes, it has been confirmed by surveys that the family practitioner is most likely to profess that he, or she, is content in both their professional and their personal lives. The family medical doctor often enjoys the freedom of not having to commit to or depend on a community hospital to properly treat their patients. In addition, the schedule flexibility and freedom of time allows the family medical doctor to enjoy his her personal life without having to constantly be on call.

For it’s natural, family-based environment, a family practice is a great way to find balance between work and family. As mentioned previously, the hours can be great and the community involvement priceless. The on-going continued education that comes along with working daily with the people of your community can make for an enriching and fulfilling experience. As of 2007, the average salary of the family medicine career, in the United States, was $160,000 per year.