Three Reasons to Consider Medical Practice in Rural Areas

April 20, 2016


If you’re planning a career in the medical field, no doubt you’ve read news of the coming nationwide shortage of physicians. Researchers with the Association of American Medical Colleges expects a deficit of over 130,000 family physicians alone by 2025, and more than 20 specialties expect significant shortages as well.

Experts say that patients living in rural areas will be hardest hit. But that prediction also means unique benefits for medical students who choose to practice in these communities. Here are three top reasons to consider taking to the countryside after securing your medical license.

  1. Savings on student loans: Many states offer special financial incentives to students who commit to practicing in rural areas after graduation, including federal- and state-funded student loan reimbursement. And, your reimbursement gets incrementally higher with each year of rural practice.
  2. Higher quality of life: Although an urban or suburban practice may promise a higher paycheck, it also brings a higher cost of living. In rural areas, the dollar stretches much farther. It may mean the difference in living in a small urban apartment or enjoying a large home with a few acres of land. Rural towns may also offer less traffic congestion, cleaner air and less overall stress.
  3. More personable patient care: Too often, physicians in bustling metropolitan areas have higher patient loads than they can effectively handle and may even be required to meet certain quotas, such as seeing a minimum number of patients each hour. The result is minimal time spent with each patient, higher levels of pressure on doctors and other medical professionals and potentially inadequate treatment for patients. This can prove physically and emotionally stressful for physicians who truly want to give patients their all. By comparison, doctors practicing in rural areas tend to be under far less pressure and are able to spend significantly more time with each patient. This lends to improved treatment for patients and higher job satisfaction for medical providers.

Rural doctors also tend to see a wider range of patient issues, many of which typically would be passed off to a specialist. And, because they’re fewer in number and more likely to develop more personal relationships with patients, rural physicians often enjoy something of a hero status in their communities.

Whether you’re aiming for big-city or small-town practice, St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC can help assure you’re prepared for the rigors of medical school and the highly rewarding challenge of a healthcare profession. Call 904-209-3140 to find out how.