/ by Dr. Shannon J. Voogt
As a family medicine physician for the past eight years, I know that having a primary care doctor is very important. From performing wellness checkups to managing chronic diseases, primary care providers offer patients a holistic view of their health and can recognize and manage serious conditions that require more care.
In honor of Primary Care Week, here’s what you should know about this field of medicine:
Why I decided to pursue family medicine
Although I had never heard of family medicine before I entered medical school, I knew pretty quickly that this was the field of medicine for me. Here was a specialty that focused on everything. I trained with family medicine doctors who cared for babies, children, adults and geriatric patients. They knew how to diagnose sports injuries and do joint injections. They counseled patients in times of depression and anxiety. They delivered babies during busy nights covering the hospital. Most importantly, they formed lasting relationships with patients they saw in their offices.
Primary care doctors are essential
Primary care is so important for the health of individuals and communities. We know that access to more primary care doctors means better health outcomes for communities. Although specialists are necessary in certain situations, everyone still needs a dedicated primary care provider who can provide patient-centered and continuous care.
Seeing a primary care provider who is familiar with the patient and the intricacies of their health history will lead to more personalized care that’s right for them.
Primary care providers can also detect and screen for the initial symptoms of mental health issues or early signs of cancer or chronic illness. Patients who see a primary care provider can start to manage these health problems before they become more severe. Within primary care, family medicine physicians can care for patients throughout their lives and in different situations, including in the clinic and at the hospital.
What does a family medicine doctor do?
Every family doctor is different, but a typical day for me involves seeing patients in the clinic. I do well checkups for babies, annual physicals for adults, check-ins with pregnant patients as well as manage chronic diseases and advise on acute complaints. Additionally, I work at the hospital and make home visits to newborns and older patients.
It’s kind of hard to describe a “typical” day – every day is different. And that’s what I love about family medicine!
If you are interested in seeing a provider who can treat the whole person and the whole family, then consider a family medicine physician. We have dedicated our careers to helping you be the healthiest person you can be.