Physician recruitment an issue in rural areas

    Rural communities have long struggled with the recruitment and retention of health care providers. Rural doctors can enjoy some daily benefits, such as fresher air, lower crime rates and the chance to raise children who can count a blanket of stars in the night sky. Their paycheck may also stretch further than in urban-based practices, enabling a down payment on one of the area's most elegant houses and the opportunity to build a practice and reputation as a pillar of the community.
    But signing on that dotted contractual line also can entail some professional and personal risks. A physician's spouse might struggle to land a nearby job. It might require a road trip to find violin lessons or the convenience of big box shopping. Building a rural practice also can mean limited time away from the office and a restricted number of people to refer with on cases. Even those who enjoy the challenges and variety of rural medicine readily acknowledge that when you work in a smaller community, it’s difficult to go in the public. Patients are everywhere, and sometimes it makes it hard to run simple errands such as going to the grocery store to get that gallon of milk without a patient stopping to ask you questions.

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