Don’t overlook rural and small-town community practices as you engage in the physician job search. Nearly 20% of U.S. citizens live in rural locations, yet fewer than 10% of U.S. physicians practice in these environments. Aside from improving a medical care access disparity, there are several reasons physicians should consider jobs in smaller, tight-knit communities. While many may find the high-volume big city life to be exciting, consider these amenities that may make practicing rural medicine the right fit for you:
- Higher compensation: Healthcare systems operating smaller hospitals and practices largely offer higher salaries and bonuses than their metropolitan counterparts. With higher compensation and a lower cost of living, you can live quite comfortably!
- Better quality of life: Rural practices offer flexible hours, more autonomy in your position, and a comfortable daily patient volume. This freedom allows you more room to build your practice and ample time to spend with your family or on hobbies that thrill you. If work/life balance is truly a priority, it’s far more likely to be found in a small to mid-size community.
- Family-friendly environment: Peaceful neighborhoods and safer streets provide an excellent place to raise a family. With lower crime rates, lower property taxes, and access to outdoor activities, these communities often sit within proximity to a larger metropolitan area, giving you the comfort of spacious living without compromising access to big city amenities.
- More generous benefits: Small town practices offer impressive perks and benefits including student loan payoff, visa assistance, impressive CME, relocation coverage, and more.
- Patient-focused: Working in a rural or smaller community allows you to provide undivided medical care for underserved populations across the country. Without the pressure of working through a dense patient population, you’re able to spend quality time with each patient rather than rushing from one to the next.
Whether you’re fresh out of fellowship or you’re a practicing physician who is tired of the rat race of big city living, a small-town opportunity might have you feeling more satisfied with your life and career.
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