By Craig Griebel, MD

Dr. Griebel

We recently held our Family Medicine Interest Group procedures workshop. Students (M-1s, M-2s and M-3s) rotate through several workstations to learn skills of procedures performed by family physicians.

It was fun to host the students at the workshop. The energy of the students is infectious. They are starting their careers in medicine, so they have their whole life of medicine ahead of them. On the other hand, I have been practicing for almost 30 years. Participating in the workshop with my fellow faculty and some of our residents reinforced to me the importance of the specialty of family medicine in our healthcare system.

Family physicians are trained to do a variety of procedures, and the workshop exposed the students to a sampling of those procedures. It is important for the students to understand the variety of skills that are in the purview of family physicians, to understand that a patient does not need to be referred out of a family medicine office for common skin issues, basic orthopedic care, and women’s healthcare procedures.

Besides the procedures that many family physicians perform, the global pandemic has also highlighted the ability of family physicians to adapt to the healthcare needs of their community. Here at the family medicine residency, we have heard many stories of family physicians who were pressed into service on COVID units. Due to the diverse nature of our training, we are able to step into the breach during a crisis.

In my previous blog post, I discussed the emerging crisis of obstetrical care and how family physicians are stepping into that crisis to fill in gaps of obstetrical care in their communities. There is also a crisis of access to care in many rural areas. Again, the burden to fill in gaps of care in rural areas often falls to family physicians.

There are other examples, but the ones that have been provided exemplify the crucial role that family physicians play and will continue to play in our healthcare system. Seeing the energy of the students at the procedures workshop, many of whom plan to pursue a career in family medicine, provided reassurance that the next generation of family physicians is more than ready to meet the challenges in our healthcare system. Seeing how family physicians are rising to meet the crises in front of them reinforces the crucial role of family physicians in the field of medicine.

About the Author

Dr. Craig Griebel is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.