As I plunge deeper into my clerkship years, I'm thinking more and more about what I want to be when I grow up. Rural family practice is definitely one of a kind and has kept me on my toes. It wasn't uncommon for me to drive 2 hours to even more remote villages for the weekly clinics there. There were days where I'd poke babies for their vaccines, K.O. an aggressive alcoholic, and several motor vehicle traumas all before being called back in for someone with heart failure that was being choppered in. I was able to do the ER bit, but still have complete follow-up with the patients. Pretty neat stuff that ain't served in the city.
I can definitely see myself doing this for a living but rural is...well rural. I freaken love the idea of being a jack of all trades physician and have the ability to go fishing nearby while "on call". But I'm not sure the trade-off of friends, family, and urban conveniences is worth it. I looked forward to work everyday, but I couldn't figure out whether it was 'cause I enjoyed suturing legs up at 2am or because the alternative of watching the clock tick until my next shift nearly made me slash my wrists. There were days where I'd get off work, hike, come home and it was still only 6pm. From there, it was TV and youtube. Not a soul in the street to chat with.
Verdict? Rural medicine is great. It takes a certain maturity for a city boy to trade off friends, family, and glitzy social scene of urban life though. I'm certainly not there yet. If I pursue family medicine in the future, I hope said maturity will be there. After all, rural medicine is definitely the way to do family medicine.