The opportunity for medical students to be exposed to family medicine in a clinical setting at such a critical time in their training is invaluable. Our Physician Skills Development (PSD) Community Preceptor program leads to more students choosing family medicine in the future and enables them to have an appreciation for the wide breadth of family practice. Half of our medical students are consistently matched to a residency in family medicine, the highest in the country. In order to continue training the best family doctors, we need you!
Why do I Teach Family Medicine?
By: Dr. Kathryn McFarland
I have been in private General Practice in Ottawa since 1992 in Blackburn Hamlet after graduating from the University of Toronto and completing my Rotating Internship at the University of Ottawa. I am a member of Connexion FHT and involved in a full time practice, run a monthly Memory Loss clinic with the team and spend one day a week working as Clinical Liaison for the FHT. I was also a Surgical Assistant for 6 years with the Orthopaedics Department at the Civic Hospital.
Training in Toronto was very intense and alienating and I remember barely having any personal moments with my Preceptors, certainly no one ever mentored me – something I vowed to change if I ever worked with students in my career. I didn't decide on Family Medicine – I think it found me – I was going to be a surgeon but wanted to take a year off and do locums in FM. I realized then that this specialty allowed me to pursue my special interests and develop a long-term relationship with patients. The latter is what I think has made me more effective clinically.
I have been teaching at uOttawa as a Clinical Preceptor for about 6 years with first, second, third and fourth-year students. It has been very fulfilling to see the same student transform from an eager and keen first year to an efficient and pensive fourth year. This year I also started with Paediatric Residents from CHEO as well. I have the younger students in for 4 afternoons and seniors full time for a variety of lengths from 2 to 5 weeks.
Teaching allows me to slow things down in my day and re-focus on why I chose Medicine. Students challenge me - they open my mind to new ideas and approaches with my patients. I think I learn more from them some days! I have noticed over the years that my patients enjoy the opportunity to have a turn at greeting a new face and have really opened up to them, encouraged and mentored them in their own unique way.
I would encourage other Physicians to consider teaching. It is part of the Pay it Forward philosophy – and if we want Physicians with Humanity we first have to take time to remind them of what a privilege it is to have been chosen to be a MD and show them compassion, gentle direction and reinforce that this special Professional Community we all belong to is there to support them throughout their career.