What is a Family Doctor?


By Russell Durkee, DO
Published in Healthy Viewpoints

 
The specialty of Family Medicine, also referred to as Family Practice, is a primary care specialty where the focus of care begins at birth and continues through adulthood. As in all medical specialties, Family Medicine physicians attend four years of medical school and then complete a three-to-four year residency. Most family physicians are accredited through the American Board of Family Practice which requires recertification every seven years.

Family physicians provide complete health care, regardless of age or gender, to the whole family including obstetrics, pediatrics, adult medicine and geriatrics. While seeing this variety of patients, family physicians are able to focus their care on each patient individually and take into account the patient’s family dynamics. Family Medicine physicians work as team players with other specialists. For example, your family doctor will work with your surgeon while you are in the hospital and will consult a particular specialist when needed.

Most family physicians work in a clinic setting. Family physicians also do a variety of procedures including skin lesion removals, toenail surgery, treadmill stress testing, vasectomies, sigmoidoscopy, dermatologic cosmetic procedures and some obstetric and gynecologic procedures. In some communities family physicians may perform major surgery such as gallbladder removal or c-sections. There are a percentage of family doctors who have their medical degree from an osteopathic medical school which trains them in osteopathic manipulation.

Primary care doctors work with different specialists, when needed, to help coordinate the best possible medical care for their patients. Family physicians are dedicated to their patients and to their patients’ families. They are trained to take care of the whole family from infancy to adulthood, focusing on overall health and preventative medicine. Their goal is to keep their patients healthy and happy from birth through their golden years.

Dr. Durkee is part of Pine Grove Family Practice which provides Obstetric care, office procedures, Osteopathic manipulation procedures, hospital care, nursing home care and overall Family Medicine.

Some useful websites: familydoctor.org, aafp.org