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Six Benefits of Practicing Medicine in Rural America

Living in a small town may not be the initial desire of every physician looking to make a change in practice, but once hearing about the advantages, many physicians end up making the switch.  Sure, your choice of exciting nightlife and fine Italian dining might be limited, but there are some incredible positives that may outweigh those negatives.  Here are our top six reasons to consider a rural practice:

More Time for Family and Fun – Can you imagine a 10 minute commute without traffic? Rural physicians can! They are able to drive home to a place on the outside of town with several acres and beautiful views.  They can spend more time with their family, because they do not have to factor in a lengthy drive.  Being home in time for dinner and making it to their kids’ afterschool activities becomes a regular way of life.  Additionally, the cost of real estate tends to be much lower, so the quality and size of their home cannot be compared to anything you would see for a similar price in an urban market.  Childcare, property taxes, and even restaurants tend to be less expensive as well.

[3] Basically, rural physicians can make more and spend less, offering a lot more financial options compared to their urban counterparts.A

More Volume = More Income – The starting salary and income potential for a physician tends to be higher in rural markets.[1] There is less competition in these markets, so physicians have the opportunity to see higher volumes in their practices.  The 2016 MGMA survey shows that the national median annual encounters for a Family Practitioner is 16, which is tied to an income of $230,456.13.[2]  However, an average Family Practitioner in a rural, outpatient setting can expect to see 25 patients or more.  This type of volume would put them in the 90th percentile of earners with a resulting income of $403,541.26.  When practicing in a rural market, physicians have the opportunity to consistently reach that 25 patients-per-day mark and ultimately, make more money.

Maintain a Varied Skill Set – If you have an interest in performing a variety of procedures, then rural might be the way to go. By joining a hospital staff without all of the subspecialists you would find in an urban market, there is more opportunity to do the types of procedures that would ordinarily be delegated to someone else.  By practicing in a location with less competition, providers with strong training and experience are able to keep their skills proficient.

More Than Their Doctor – In rural areas, physicians are still held in high regard as valued and respected community members. A physician’s happiness is a high priority in both community and hospital decision making.  From healthcare administrators to patients, everyone does their best to consider providers’ opinions and make sure the doctors know they are an integral part of the community.

Warm Welcome – Rural physicians are truly needed in their communities, and therefore are able to quickly ramp up to full and thriving practices. New physicians are warmly welcomed into town and often have waiting lists of new patients before they even start.  Patients in these communities are sincerely thankful for the personalized care they receive from their physicians.  Have you ever been gifted a large basket of potatoes from a patient?  Probably not, but we know physicians in rural markets who have.  And who doesn’t like potatoes?!?

Perks, Perks, Perks – Many rural hospitals are willing to offer incentives that are difficult to find in most urban settings. From large amounts of student loan debt relief to very large signing bonuses, these hospitals will do what it takes in order to meet the needs of their providers.  Even additional time off for mission work is often something physicians find in these rural practices.  The hospitals in these communities realize that they need to be creative in order to attract attention, so they tend to offer additional incentives that you do not typically find in the standard compensation package.

Final Thoughts – Recruiters are seeing more and more physicians choose a rural lifestyle for a better quality of life, higher compensation, and most importantly, the chance to really make a difference in the community in which they practice.  Perhaps it is time to consider joining this exceptional group of physicians and make an impact in a community that needs someone just like you.

[1] How much money do doctors make? Way more in rural areas, report says. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2017, from

[2] 2017 MGMA DataDive Provider Compensation. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2017, from

[3] Palmer, Kimberly. “Why You Pay Extra To Live In The City.” US News. N.p., 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 25 May 2017.

By |2021-09-21T23:49:41+00:00November 6th, 2017|Job Market|0 Comments

Recruiting Insights: It Only Takes One

Decisions, Decisions…

Turning on your television in 2017 can be quite overwhelming.  When it comes to entertainment, modern satellite TV offers hundreds of options.  Add on additional choices like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, YouTube, PlayStation Vue, Yahoo Video, Facebook Live, Goldfish Video (okay… that last one’s not real) and the possibilities are truly endless.  So, how do we decide what to watch?  Do we try to catch a bit of everything, or do we stick to our handful of tried-and-true favorites? Is the amount of options so positively overwhelming that it ultimately cripples us from making such a monumental, life-altering decision?

The truth is… probably not.  We’re used to it.  Choices, that is.  We make choices every day and are fully capable of handling a multitude of options at every turn.  In fact, most of us enjoy those choices.  We like to see what options exist so we can make the best, most well-educated decision possible.  Believe it or not, this fact even remains true in physician recruiting.

“The Grass is Always Greener”

It is clear that within the United States, there is a physician shortage to some degree.  Healthcare reform has put more pressure on physician access, and there are just not enough physicians to cover all of the needs that exist.

[1]  Hospitals and clinics are constantly trying to recruit physicians of all specialties to further their efforts of caring for the community around them.  The need to procure physicians is high, yet healthcare professionals often insist on addressing recruitment like every other other decision, with the mindset of “the more options, the better.”  Sure, we all like choices, but is our desire for choice sometimes overshadowing our ability to do what is in the best interest of the community?

Truthfully, we carry this mindset of choices and possibilities too far at times.  For instance, when presented with a quality physician who is interested in our opportunity, we still find ourselves thinking about the next CV that might hit our desk.  We get so excited about the possibilities of the future, we may not give the person right in front of us the consideration he or she deserves.  This whole “the grass is always greener on the other side” approach can hinder our success.  Sure, there might be a physician somewhere out there who is a five percent overall better fit than our current candidate, but who knows how long it might take to find that person.  Who knows if that next candidate would even take the job!  This recruitment style, often known as the “beauty pageant” approach,” is one in which decision makers wait and see what might come next instead of locking down a great candidate, just because that candidate was the first to express interest in the opportunity.  Beauty pageants may have their place in society, but let’s not allow that place to be physician recruitment.

“This recruitment style, often known as the “beauty pageant” approach,” is one in which decision makers wait and see what might come next instead of locking down a great candidate, just because that candidate was the first to express interest in the opportunity.”

Lost Potential

Let’s think about this: the average lost revenue per month for not having a physician in place is $130,049.[2]  If a hospital waits an additional six months for that perceived “perfect” candidate, they will have lost $780,294 in potential revenue.  That is not even considering the implications of unseen patients and overworked providers. The stress of an unfilled need can lead to a lot of stress for all of those involved in the recruitment process.  So, maybe waiting to gain that extra five percent compatibility is not be the best decision.  Perhaps, decision makers should take a second look at the candidate who is already interested, with an eye to find the potential that already exists.

Making This One Count

The most successful hospitals and clinics treat each candidate like he or she is the last candidate they will ever see.  Sure, that is probably not going to be the case, but this mindset helps them be consistent in hiring great candidates for their facility and community.  Astute decision makers make candidates feel important and cared for, not like just another CV being filtered through a list of qualifying questions.  A sharp decision maker is not thinking about the possibility of another candidate to consider.  They are completely engaged in that moment, because they know the truth so many others have a hard time considering: it only takes one.

David Cox, Director of Physician Recruitment at Livingston Regional Hospital in Livingston, Tennessee, shared what he does to make a candidate feel important.  Once David finds a candidate in which he is interested, he says, “[Moving quickly] shows a candidate that we are serious.  If the candidate is ready [to make a decision], we want to be the first to have a phone interview.  We want to be the first to have an on-site visit”.  This strategy gives their organization a competitive edge, and they ultimately bring on board nearly 70% of the candidates to whom they extend offers.  Everyone likes choices, but when it comes to recruitment, it only takes one strong candidate to fill a position.  Don’t let the first one slip by while waiting for someone “better” to come along, because the fact is, the first candidate was probably a great physician.

“‘[Moving quickly] shows a candidate that we are serious.  If the candidate is ready [to make a decision], we want to be the first to have a phone interview.  We want to be the first to have an on-site visit’. –David Cox, Director of Physician Recruitment, Livingston Regional Hospital”

From Wishful Thinking to a Consistent Reality

Being aggressive is a major key to success when it comes to recruiting physicians.  The current nature of the industry demands expediency, and the industry will not be slowing down anytime soon.  One of the best ways to set your opportunity apart from the hundreds of others is to be an engaging and timely recruiter.  This is how to make candidates feel important and wanted.  This is how you can make a difference.  If you commit great effort to the small details, landing candidates will no longer be wishful thinking, but will become a consistent reality.


[1] Bernstein, Lenny. “U.S. Faces 90,000 Doctor Shortage by 2025, Medical School Association Warns.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 03 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 May 2017.


By |2021-09-21T23:49:41+00:00September 6th, 2017|Job Market|0 Comments
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