Should you choose internal medicine or family practice?

What are the differences between the two generalist fields?

Academic internist Robert Centor gives his perspective, highlighting differences in philosophy, focus, program rigor, and the involvement of obstetrics and pediatrics.

I found the observation about the variability of family practice program’s rigor interesting, with Dr. Centor saying “the better programs do a wonderful job, but there remain too many family medicine programs which do not provide rigorous training . . . this problem is much less significant in internal medicine training.”

With the focus on inpatient care, that may be true. However, there are certainly less-rigorous internal medicine programs out there.

His bottom line? “If you are focused on outpatient practice, you should find a rigorous family medicine program. If you think you might do a significant amount of inpatient work, then I would favor internal medicine.”

Judging by this conclusion, it is not a surprise that only 2 percent of internal medicine residents medical students (thanks for correcting me) opt for internal medicine primary care careers.

topics: family practice, internal medicine

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