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Doctor's Appointment

Revolutionizing Healthcare Narratives: Embracing the Vital Role of Family Medicine

  • Discover the role family doctors and the immense possibilities this field offers.

  • Debunk family medicine myths and unravel the truths about this amazing specialty. 

A medical specialty

Fields of expertise

Being the first point of contact for patients with the healthcare system

    Developping and maintaining longitudinal relationships 

    Applying a global and holistic approach

    Playing an important role in health promotion and disease prevention

    Providing care to patients of all ages, genders and conditions

    Having in-depth knowledge of all levels of the healthcare system and resources in the community

The importance of family medicine

Family physicians form the cornerstone of the healthcare system by providing holistic, longitudinal, and personalized care.

The strength of a healthcare system directly depends on the strength of front-line care, allowing for:

•    Better access to health services 
•    Fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits 
•    Reduced healthcare costs
•    Reduced health disparities
•    Improved health outcomes

Canadians attribute great importance to having a family doctor: among those who do not have one, 50% consider it very important and 30% consider it relatively important. (1)

Purple Dog Balloon
Doctor Examining Pregnant Woman

Practice contexts

-    Clinic (public or private)
-    Hospitalization
-    Long-term care facilities
-    Home care
-    CLSC
-    Emergency
-    Obstetrics units
-    Community medicine (organizations, public services)
-    Sexual health prevention clinic

Aspects of family medicine most appreciated by medical students



The practice of the family doctor offers exceptional diversity, encompassing:
1.   Providing care to patients aged 0 to 100, at all stages of life.
2.  Providing comprehensive care of patients’ physical and mental health.
3.  Management of a large number of pathologies, whether acute or chronic


Career avenues for family doctors include clinic or hospital work, teaching, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, clinician-scientist, etc.

After 2 years of residency, some family doctors with specific interests may choose to acquire advanced skills by completing the third year of optional training (R3). This training allows family doctors to offer more services to their patients in varied care contexts.


Work-life balance

According to a 2019 CMA survey, 71% of family doctors say they are very satisfied or satisfied with their professional life, and 48% believe they have a good balance between professional and personal life. (2)

Family medicine offers remarkable flexibility, allowing doctors to modify their professional practice according to their life context. Schedule flexibility is even more achievable thanks to interprofessional collaboration and teamwork within Family Medicine Groups (GMF).

Professional culture is evolving towards promoting work-life balance. It is seen as an asset that promotes quality patient care. This approach emphasizes that taking time for yourself contributes to better patient care. 

Unique aspects of family medicine


The longitudinal relationship

Longitudinal care refers to the ongoing relationship between a family doctor and their patients.


There are several values to this type of care:

1.    Holistic understanding of the patient:
•    The longitudinal relationship allows family physicians to develop an in-depth understanding of the patient's history, lifestyle, family dynamics, and social context. This unique and privileged relationship promotes a holistic approach.

2.    Preventive care and early detection of health problems:
•    Through long-term relationships, family doctors can act on risk factors, thus preventing the development of chronic diseases. They are also well-placed to recognize subtle changes indicative of the onset of a health problem.

3.    Improved doctor-patient communication:
•    The trusting relationship between patient and family doctor facilitates shared decision-making, ensuring that patients actively participate in their healthcare decisions.

4.    Increased patient satisfaction:
•    Patient satisfaction levels are higher when receiving care from a familiar and trusted doctor. This is related to feeling understood and cared for by someone familiar with their unique needs.


Interprofessional collaboration

There are many specialists and healthcare professionals who play a role in patient car in family medicine.

It's a win-win situation for patients and doctors:

  •   Strength #1: Teamwork optimizes resources, accelerates access to care, and offers better quality of care.

  •   Strength #2: It allows for the delivery of holistic care. 

  •   Strength #3: Collaboration increases the capacity of family doctors to care for a greater number of patients, improving the efficiency of services.

Encore des questions?

By: Jenna Santagata

4th year medical student

University of Sherbrooke

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