Specialty Secrets: Family Medicine

On the first interview for Specialty Secrets, I’d like to present Dr. Ryan Fisher, MD!

Specialty: Family Medicine

University attended and undergraduate degree: LeTourneau University in Longview, TX – Bachelor of Science in Biology

Medical school attended: American University of the Caribbean (AUC)- St. Maarten, NA

Why did you choose the specialty of family medicine?: I think that FM allows for the best opportunity to treat the whole patient. I really like that it allows me to treat generations of families, from the newborns to the grandparents. Family Medicine is also known as the “GateKeeper” to medicine. Being a Family Doctor means having to know about a lot of different diseases and conditions. I also hope to work overseas and I believe that training in Family Medicine provides the broadest and best training to be ready for anything that might present itself.

Where do you currently work?: In an Outpatient Clinic.

What do you do on a daily basis in the clinic?: I see everything from cough and cold, to chest pain, to conjunctivitis. From acne, to ADHD, to ACL injuries, and everything else in between.

Have you conducted any research during your career? If so, what was the project?: The clinic in which I work is conducting several trials. I will begin participating in this research in the next few months.

What were your thoughts on the USMLE Step Exams (study tips, thoughts, etc.): Study early and often. I highly recommend the USMLE World (UWORLD) website for study questions. I recommend trying to go through the database twice if possible. I do not think that the live courses are worth very much (other physicians may have different opinions; it all depends on how you study best).

What was your favorite study technique in medical school?: I will give my favorite technique to study, but I will start with this statement. There are as many “best way” to study as there are people. This fact was something that I struggled with during my first semester. Everyone that you speak to has “the best way to study” and this can be distracting as you figure out how you learn best. My advice is to learn how you study best and do that.

My personal technique hinges on that at AUC, we had class in the morning and typically the rest of the day to study. I would go to class in the morning and then I wound have a group study session where we would go over the material and then I would have a break for a couple hours and then have a different group session where we went over the material again and quiz each other. Using this method, I went over the same material 3 times in each day.

Your advice for current medical students:

  1. Find out what study method works for you, and then do it. Do not take anyone’s advice as a prescription for what you should do.
  2. Take time to enjoy life. With going to school in the Caribbean, this was easy – there was always a beach or activity nearby that allowed you to relax and unwind for a bit.
  3. Give to others. Participate in an activity and use your skills to help other people. Remember why you are in medical school to begin with. I was able to participate in a trip with some of my classmates to Yantalo, Peru and had a great time serving others. This type of service will provide perspective and a driving force regarding why you started this journey, and to help you see it through.

Additional comments?: Start working on your residency personal statements early! They are a pain to write and take a lot of time. Also, having been on the other side – reading them – I suggest writing one tailored to each program to which you apply. It does make a huge difference to help you to stand out against someone who writes the most generic PS without any substance. Also, please, please, please use spell check and grammar check when writing your PS. You are applying for a very, very important job. I think about 30% of the statements that I have read had major grammatical issues. There must be someone that you know that can read your PS and give feedback.

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