Family Medicine is the specialty that accepts as its responsibility the delivery of personal, continuing and comprehensive health care to patients of all ages within the context of the family and the community. Graduate education in Family Medicine at the Albany Medical Center seeks to train astute clinicians who understand the impact of psychosocial factors as they influence patients and their diseases.
Recognizing the challenge of these tasks, the faculty has developed specific goals for each year and makes use of different educational techniques to attain these goals at each level of training.
In the first post-graduate year, the major emphasis is to train residents in hospital medicine and emergency care.
This year is a transition from the largely theoretical knowledge of medical school to the practical decision making of the bedside. This educational goal is reflected in nine months of inpatient rotations in the various specialties medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics, and three months in outpatient and surgical care.
For continuity of care, the resident will begin to establish the panel of outpatients he/she will follow for three years. The resident learns from lectures, case presentations, bedside rounds and direct patient care.
During the PGY-II year, the major emphasis is to learn the basic skills of providing ambulatory care by building on the decision-making skills of in-hospital care. This is reflected in the increased time in the Family Medicine Center and the year's surgical and medical subspecialty outpatient rotations.
During this year, the resident becomes a generalist and uses an integrated biopsychosocial model. He/she develops an appreciation for understanding and treating the patient's problems in the context of the family unit and the community. This critical area of growth comes from close preceptorship with practicing family physicians as well as talented Behavioral Science faculty. Didactic sessions, rounds, and case presentations change the focus from within the hospital to the ambulatory care setting.
During the PGY-III year, the major emphasis is to define the scope of Family Medicine for each individual resident. The resident continues in hospital and ambulatory care training but becomes more focused on psychosocial care, practice management and the unique issues of Family Medicine.
Three one-month rotations in Family Medicine and up to four elective months are available to provide maximum flexibility and individuality for each resident's program. Career counseling, practice planning and advising conferences have been established to help in these areas of growth.
The focus of education continues to shift from formal teaching to developing lifelong learning skills. Senior residents are expected to teach the junior residents - an important aspect of their continuing medical education. Noon case discussions, chart audits and the supervision of first-year residents on inpatient rotations are some of the activities in which this teaching takes place.
The delivery of personal and comprehensive health care requires that family physicians maintain their compassion for patients and their motivation to pursue their career goals. These non-cognitive, humanistic aspects of physicianhood are perhaps best learned by the development of close personal and professional relationships with role-model family physician faculty, who are actively involved in practice and in faculty development programs.
Residents experience significant personal growth and restructuring of important relationships during the three years of residency education, as do their families and significant others. Our resident/advisor program is designed to provide both anticipatory guidance and support for the many personal and professional tasks that must be accomplished during this exciting and very special time in preparing for a strong and successful career in Family Medicine.