One patient's family member told me, "Don't specialize."
I was so confused by this. I explained that the purpose of this year of medical school is to experience different specialties. He then explained that he thought I should do "general practice". I explained to him that family medicine is a specialty, so when I said that hadn't decided what to specialize in, I meant that family medicine was still on the table.
I was irritated because it was another example of the fact that family medicine is misunderstood. This was evident because this person didn't consider it a specialty. I see how people think that family docs are less "specialized" because they are see pediatric to geriatric patients. Most specialities are based on either patient population (e.g. pediatrics, OB/GYN, general internal medicine) or organ system (e.g. every field ending in -ology.)
Family physicians are specialists. They specialize in care for all people with an emphasis understanding the patient's family and community. It saddens me that people don't think it's a skill to understand patients, to be engaged in the patient's community, to advise patients on lifestyle changes, to keep people healthy in the first place.
I also don't like it when people who don't know me at all think they should tell me what to do. I understand that probably they are trying to be nice since they're engaging me in conversation at all. This is better than complaining that they don't want to be seen by a student. But I don't think it's necessary for people to pinpoint what specialty I should do. I hate "advice" like that.
The best thing they could say to me also seems to be the most rare:
I hope you find what makes you happy and good luck.