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03-25-2007, 07:06 AM
Residency Fair - Frequently ASked Questions
Family Medicine
Dr. Paul Humphries

Specialty/Field Questions

What are the best things about your specialty?
The best thing about Family Medicine is the incredible variety of activity, which fills every day, week and year of practice.

What are the worst things about your specialty?
The worst thing about the specialty of Family Medicine is to many of us an attraction, in that we never know what the next problem will be that confronts us in the office, hospital, other institution or patient's home.

Why did you choose your specialty?
I chose the specialty of Family Medicine because of its challenge, variety and opportunity to be involved throughout my career in clinical, academic and research activities in most any site in Canada

What types of clinical cases do you commonly see?
There is no end to the variety of clinical cases commonly seen in the practice of family medicine, but what does surprise people is the depth and detail with a wide range of procedural skills the family doctor delivers.

Briefly describe a typical day.
There is no such thing as a typical day for family medicine, but one can choose an emphasis on activity ranging from full comprehensive family medicine care through the focused practice of sophisticated medical skills.

What are the varieties of lifestyles within your field?
Family physicians practice in many settings for time commitments ranging from a few days a week to full time and have the choice of virtually any geographic location in the world to exercise their profession.

Specifically, how able is your specialty to accommodate family life?
Family Medicine can best be built around family life.

Range of incomes?
Family medicine income across Canada places the family physician in a high-income bracket, but there is a wide range depending on the time commitment and type of practice with expectations of most family physicians lying in the $100,000 to $250,000 per year range.

How do you see your discipline changing over the next decade?
Recognition of the Family Physician as the key player in primary care is rapidly increasing the status, income and job satisfaction of Family Physicians.

Residency Program Questions

What are you looking for specifically in an impressive candidate?
Family Medicine is looking for candidates that impress us with their interest in people, their drive for constant life long learning, their responsibility for their profession and their potential patients and a desire to work hard while enjoying the satisfaction of serving the health care mandate within our community.

What can a potential candidate do now in order to be an appealing applicant to your program?
Seek experiences and information to form a valid concept of the role of Family Physicians.

How is your residency program organized? (i.e. year by year breakdown and schedule of rotations)
Family Medicine Residency Program is two core years with an optional third year. There are site, rotation and program choices in both core material and electives throughout the program, which is delivered in both block units and horizontal integrated activities.

What is your residency program's orientation and focus?
Diverse and eclectic preparation for a focused career which can continue to evolve through life long learning.

What is the availability of experiences in subspecialty areas during training?
A multitude of enhanced skill programs are available in residency, as fellowships and CME.

Are there sufficient elective opportunities during training to explore your special interests?
Horizontal and block electives are generously available.

What is the on-call schedule during each year of residency?
Mostly home call (1:3 - 1:5) with ~25% hospital in-house call (1:4 - 1:5) and 25% no call time.

What distinguishes the U of A program from other programs?
Family medicine at the U of A is exceptionally resourced with clinical opportunities throughout Alberta and in every discipline readily available, the program is large yet divided into five physically distinct units so that the smaller unit congeniality comes through and the faculty, staff and residents all have significant input into program planning, evaluation and change. Family doctors graduated from the University of Alberta can choose to practice most anywhere in the world.

Who can we contact for more information or to set up electives?
More information concerning the program or to set up electives can be obtained by contacting our office at 780-492-6628 or using our website, www.med.ualberta.ca/familymed, then emailing our program at [email protected]

Specifically, is there a list of residents whom we can call or email?
Contacts for residents are available through the Residency Program office at 780-492-6628

How competitive is it to get in, and then to succeed in your field?
All of medicine is currently under-serviced in Canada and family medicine has ample openings as it is expanding in an attempt to meet the mandate of a huge primary care need. Those who have the energy and aptitude to work in primary care teams in a very fulfilling role will have little difficulty succeeding in family medicine in its many facets.

Is there active and/or required research in your residency program?
Two short research-based projects are required. Core and additional programming can be chosen to focus on research.

What role does research play in your career?
10 - 15% of my career.

What local, national or international conferences would be of benefit to candidates interested in your residency program?
College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Annual Forum and the Alberta Chapter of the CFPC Annual Scientific Meeting.