Well you know what they say about curiosity…
My residency was in Family Medicine. Half-way through that, I discovered that what I *really* liked was Emergency Medicine (variety + procedures + fast pace = a 12-hour shift is over before I even know it!), but by that point I didn’t feel like hitting the reset button and starting a new residency all over — and when I discovered that I could still focus on Urgent Care without switching residencies, that became my goal.
There are a few Urgent Care residencies now, I believe, as well as Urgent Care fellowships for Family Medicine residents. I just did my 3 years of FM residency and then hunted for U.C. jobs.
I work only in Urgent Care. Some U.C.’s will also hire “traditional” FM docs (i.e. they also have a “regular” clinic with their own panel of patients) who want to pick up extra hours/$ by working in an Urgent Care. I, on the other hand, don’t like the traditional FM structure much — that whole “pager/on-call/admitting to the hospital" thing, + the whole "dealing with multiple complicated medical issues on a long-term basis" thing + the whole "FM doctors don’t get reimbursed for all the time, effort, paperwork, and phone calls that they have to make" thing.
In my Urgent Care, I am a shift worker. I know my schedule a month in advance. I come in to work, I run like mad for 8 hours, I finish dictating my charts, and then I go home — while my job stays at the building. Nobody pages me, no patients call me, I don’t get up at 2 am (except to change Baby Cranquis’ diapers). Since our U.C. is closed every Sunday, I always get that day off. I’m happy, my wife is happy, and that’s what really matters! On top of that, I get paid salary + productivity, so money is not a worry. I get to do procedures (stitching, splinting, draining abscesses, removing foreign bodies from ears and noses and skin, debriding burns and wounds). I get to see kids and adults. I can always decide that a case is beyond the UC’s capability to handle and send the patient to the ER. I get to use my sense of humor and sleight-of-hand to distract and console little scared kids. I help patients make connections with specialists. I provide “second opinions” and an alternative viewpoint for patients with unusual or mysterious cases that their primary doctors no longer want to address.
In short: despite my Cranquis outlook on this blog, I love my job!
Thanks for the question. Good luck with your schooling.