Family Medicine Rotation

Hi guys, it has been a hot second since I made a blog post. To be honest, this summer has been an absolute whirlwind. With COVID, clinicals everyday and trying to have a semi-normal life in the midst of this chaos….the summer truly FLEW by. 

I thought it would be fun to do a little breakdown of each rotation that I did this summer and give you some tips for how to prepare/what to expect! Let’s dive into FAMILY MEDICINE! 

Before coming to medical school, I really had no idea what a family med doc did on a daily basis besides sports physicals—so in general, i learned A LOT about the field throughout my first year of med school!! 

Family medicine doctors treat people of all ages (from babies to elderly), which i think is a super cool aspect of the field. Within the family medicine specialty, you can receive further training in OB, sports medicine, adolescent medicine, sleep or pain medicine…basically you can customize your practice however you’d like!! 

What to expect: 

For my family medicine rotation I was at a very busy outpatient clinic. The hours typically were 7:30-4:30 with an hour long break for lunch. Honestly, the hours weren’t bad at all and the time flew by. Most of our appointments were in 15, 30 or 45 minute blocks and we saw people of all ages, everyday. The mix of population really kept the days interesting!! However with appointments being so quick, if you get behind during one appointment, it really derails the rest of the day! So it is VERY important to stay on top of your tasks and ensure the appointments only take as long as they are scheduled for. 

As a medical student, my role was to go in and see the patients before the attending. I reviewed patient histories, addressed acute complaints, did basic physical exams and wrote a LOT of notes. After I would see the patient, both me and the attending would go in and see the patient together and she would reiterate some things and double check my physical exam! Throughout this rotation I got VERY comfortable with patient interactions and being able to perform a basic physical exam. 

These were the most common patient visits that we saw: physicals, yearly check-ups, well child visits, medication checks, ER follow-up appointments, acute musculoskeletal problems and a few newborn checks. 

One of the most important tasks of a family medicine doctor is to DETECT DISEASES EARLY.

How to prepare for the shelf exam: 

The Family Medicine shelf exam at my school is not through NBME–so this information may not pertain to you. However, something that REALLY helped me do well on my shelf was becoming a member of AAFP (american academy of family practice), it is free for students. Once you are a member of AAFP, you are able to access their free board review questions!!! I went through SOO many of those board questions and it really helped me prepare for my exam. Some of the things you will want to know like the back of your hand are chronic disease management, pediatric immunization schedule, basics of musculoskeletal exam, basics of screening exams. 


A lot of people don’t like family medicine because they think that it is just managing medications for older adults. And granted, there is some aspect of this. But as a family medicine doctor you truly can take care of FAMILIES. You get to know your patients. You get to build a long-lasting relationship with them. You are able to provide a significant amount of patient education and really can advocate for preventative medicine. I truly loved my family medicine rotation! 



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