Although many physicians dream of working in big city hospitals after graduating from medical school, the country has its draws and so do rural medical practices. Here are some benefits those who head out of town to start their medical practices can enjoy.
Student Loan Reimbursement
The burden of student loans carries considerable weight, so the idea of reimbursement is a real bonus for many rural doctors. Multiple grants and programs assist physicians who practice in rural communities. The Association of American Medical Colleges(AAMC) provides a list.
Cost of Living
It’s easy to think a physician might be financially disadvantaged by working in a rural area, but that’s not typically the case. Although a rural physician may earn as much as $100,000 less a year than urban doctors, he will also save money thanks to a lower cost of living. Gas costs less in rural areas. Houses cost less. Life in general costs less.
Quality of Life
City life gets stressful with its constant noise and congested streets. Heading to open air and a rural medical office can give a doctor a better quality of life. It decreases drive time and stress levels, not to mention pollution and environmental toxins.
Personal Patient Care
All patients can start to look the same when a doctor sees hundreds of them a week. This doesn’t happen at rural medical practices. Physicians get to know their patients. They recognize them at the store and their children play together on the basketball team. They’re not just doctors, but become respected members of the community. When patient care is more personalized, patients feel more respected. Care is better and overall outcomes are improved.
Jack of All Trades
Most doctors who work in the city specialize, but those who practice in the country become jacks of all trades. A rural doctor may work with children and adults, and see illnesses and diseases that would be treated by specialists in urban areas. This doesn’t mean the physician will be doing a colonoscopy one day and spine surgery the next, but rural physicians tend to take care of most of their patients’ non-critical needs.
One of the most important bonuses of running a rural medical practice may be that it gives a doctor more control over work-life balance. In the country, life moves at a slower pace than in the city and most people living there live more relaxed lifestyles. Add the many recreational opportunities that are available, such as hunting, fishing, and hiking and it’s no wonder that many doctors are deciding to move to the country to start a rural practice.