Illuminating a Career in Family Medicine
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Illuminating a Career in Family Medicine

Twelve Points to Consider When Talking to a Medical Student About a Career in Family Medicine

The Undergraduate Education Committee (UGEC) of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) has been exploring medical students’ perceptions of family medicine and the messages they receive about our discipline. A striking trend that has been noticed is that medical students ask questions about “plus one” years of enhanced skills training even before they have been exposed to family medicine.

UGEC worked with the Section of Medical Students (SOMS), Section of Residents (SoR), and First Five Years in Family Practice (FFYP) Committee to disseminate surveys to students in 2016 and to residents and physicians in their first five years of practice in 2017. UGEC members also conducted two focus group–style workshops at Family Medicine Forum in 2016 and 2017 to inform their understanding of the issue and to generate solutions. Next steps include collaborating with the CFPC’s Marketing and Membership Services Department to inform its branding strategy directed toward medical students.

While the strategy is being developed, this document outlines what family medicine educators and preceptors may want to consider when discussing a career in family medicine with a medical student. The College’s Family Medicine Professional Profile (available at www.cfpc.ca/fmprofile) provides additional information that can be used to supplement these discussions.

The bottom line: We want to highlight the benefits of family medicine, dispel the myths, be honest about the challenges, and encourage medical students to reflect on whether family medicine is a good fit for them.