Physician Survey Shows Preference for Rural Medicine

Source:

2/28/2008 12:00:00 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Physician Survey Shows Preference for Rural Medicine LocumTenens.com Says Rural Employers Need to Offer Lifestyle Incentives

Alpharetta, Ga., February 28, 2008 Physicians need more exposure to practice options and opportunities in rural health care, if recent physician survey results from LocumTenens.com are any indication.

When the physician recruiting firm asked respondents who had no rural health care experience why they had never practiced in rural America:

  • 32% said they'd never found the right rural medicine opportunity.
  • 29% said they never had been offered a position in a rural area.
  • 25% said they just never considered it.
  • 11% said they"d only be interested in a particular rural area.
  • Only 15% said they didn"t want to live there and only 6% said they didn"t want to work there.

At the same time, the majority of respondents who had rural health experience (almost 800 respondents) said they prefer practicing rural medicine, but prefer urban/suburban living:

Almost half (48%) prefer urban/suburban living vs. more than a third (30%) who prefer rural living.

More than half (54%) prefer practicing rural medicine vs. 36% who prefer urban/suburban practice.

Sixteen percent of those with rural health experience said life is about the same regardless of where they live or practice. (For an overview of LocumTenens.com"s "2007 Physician Survey on Practicing Medicine in Rural America."

"Wise health care employers will step up efforts to market the lifestyle advantages of rural medicine," LocumTenens.com President David Roush said. He suggested that rural health care facilities consider offering benefits such as periodic getaway packages, membership in area country clubs, or regularly bringing in locum tenens physicians for call coverage to make the rural lifestyle more attractive to physician recruits.

"Many respondents with rural health care experience highlighted rural practice advantages like a better relationships with patients; less traffic congestion getting to and from work; and a lower likelihood of getting sued, in addition to the potential for higher compensation," Roush said.

He noted that his firm does more than 60% of its business in rural America, where the U.S. doctor shortage is most acute.

While physicians" open-ended comments conveyed concerns as well, they included positive observations like these:

"I love living in an area with a slower pace of life where you are not fighting traffic to get to work and where your talents seem to be more appreciated."

"Medicine in rural practice is clinical medicine. In an urban setting it is defensive medicine."

"If one is far enough away from the urban settings; the peace and solitude make up for the lack of 'urban' activity."

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