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Components of Good Rural Doctoring

Posted by medliorator on August 14, 2008

the success of family practice in adapting to the wide variety of rural settings lies within its generalist approach. We begin with a wide base of common illnesses across the lifespan, and this serves as a base from which to develop competence in more specialized topics. The generalist education prepares us to meet problems we’ve never seen before, research them, seek help when necessary, or initiate a work-up on our own. This is an approach which has served me extremely well during my first years in Rural, when I had to begin practicing in a community very different from the one I knew well during residency.

Components of the generalist mind-set:

  • An understanding that no problem is inaccessible to the generalist.
  • An independent cast of thought, an ability to keep your own counsel.
  • An intellectual curiosity that overpowers inertia. Investigating the unknown takes time and energy.
  • An ability to set a reasonable threshold for consultation, i.e. avoiding knee-jerk consultations but not delaying appropriate referral.
  • A tolerance for uncertainty.

Becoming a Rural Doctor, Part 2: The Generalist’s Mind [Rural Doctoring]


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