Sat. Feb 27th, 2021

28-year-old Vincent Pro. The decision to become a doctor of a rural family was not difficult. His father’s hometown of Cori, Pa. (Population 6,834) has a family practice, and as a grown-up, Prae first saw what a job was. “I knew that I wanted to practice rural family medicine because of all the challenges that my father faced,” says Proi. Jefferson Medical College At Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

The country is facing a continuous shortage of primary care physicians, and tight supplies, particularly in rural areas and small towns, are attempting to recruit medical school students, such as in rural areas such as Prai To start a long lasting career. According to a 2002 study, when 1 in 5 American residents live in a rural area, only 9 percent of doctors practice there. The lack of primary care doctors in rural areas is not new, but it is leading to deterioration. More than 4 percent of recent medical school graduates say they want to start their career in rural areas or small towns. And the number of practicing physicians will shrink as baby boomers retire.

Following the national recognition of physicians in the 1970s and 1960s — from the early 1970s — medical schools have recruited, trained, and assisted new doctors in an effort to encourage them to make their living and careers in small towns. . Many students, who choose to go into rural medicine like a pro, are themselves from small towns and either decide to go back to their hometowns or move to a community of similar size. “Studies show that one of the biggest prophets is [practicing in] Coming from a small town, “says David Luoma, chief executive of Upper Peninsula Health Education Corp., a nonprofit created in partnership with Michigan State University to administer the school’s rural physician program.” One of the biggest predictions was. The size of your high school graduation class. “

It is unusual for students from big cities to practice in a rural area. Experts say this is largely due to misconceptions about making this choice. “The culture of most medical schools is that no one in their right mind would want to become a doctor of a rural family,” says Howard Rabinowitt, director of Jefferson’s Physician Shortage Area Program. “People tell these students, ‘Why do you want to live in a small town? You can’t practice good medicine; you can’t have a personal life; you can’t adequately take care of patients.” “But they” are all myths, “Rabinovit says. Doctors in rural areas” are very happy personally and professionally. ” [to] Better life is balance, “he says. In fact, it comes down to where people want to live.”

Rural immersion. Rural medical education programs send students to small towns for a portion of their time at school to give students an idea of ​​what life is really like as a rural family doctor. They gain one-on-one experience working with doctors, and they see and develop relationships with patients. During their third year at school, students in Jefferson’s program attended a six-week course in Latrobe, Pa. (Population 8,999). In their fourth year, most of the students work one-on-one with a doctor in a rural area. In the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Rural Physician Associate Program, third-year students work for nine months with a primary-care doctor in a small community in Minnesota. Seeing patients regularly, students “also live and understand in the community and step into the role of a health care professional in a way they haven’t before,” says Kathleen Brooks, program director for Minnesota .

This aspect of the program was an attraction for Austin Crohn, a fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota. “I really enjoy the relationships you can build,” he says. He suspects that if he had moved to a big city, he would have received training so early in his career. “I was able to be helpful before on a lot of surgeries and also get a lot more freedom to do things on my own,” he says.

Of course, participation in a rural medical program is no guarantee that students will go to a small town and live there. Research covering six medical schools with a combined 1,600 rural program graduates over three decades found that 53 to 64 percent of graves practiced in rural areas, according to a review published in March 2008 Educational Medicine. Doctors who choose to leave rural areas typically prioritize workload, income, and living in a large city in a large city with access to cultural or educational options that one May not be available in small town.

Medical schools typically track grads to determine how successful their programs are in encouraging students to go into rural medicine and live with it. Data from Jefferson show that 11 to 16 years after starting the practice, 68 percent of Physician Shortage Area Program graduates were still practicing family medicine in the same rural area in which they started; An additional 11 percent were practicing family medicine in another rural area. Matthew Hansecker, director of the College of Rural Medical Education Program, says that approximately 75 percent of the National Center for Rural Health Professions at the University of Illinois-Rockford College of Medicine are practicing graduate medicine. University of Minnesota Says that nearly half of its program’s more than 1,200 graduates work in rural communities.

Rabinowitz says that rural medical programs make a difference in small communities. But retention is important. On average, rural doctors live in a rural community for about seven years, so it takes five doctors to equal the work of one, who would spend an entire career there.

Physician retention begins with early recruitment, as students consider what medical programs apply to apply. For schools, this means identifying and working with online presence and feeder colleges and universities that can refer to good candidates. Jefferson works with various Pennsylvania and Delaware colleges to identify potential applicants, and Upper Peninsula Health Education Corp uses its website and social media to reach students. The University of Minnesota Medical School’s rural programs seek out students who are fond of practicing rural family medicine and primary care, are service-oriented, and are themselves from small towns. The expectation is that by targeting recruitment to students already interested in rural medicine, the rate of students practicing in rural areas – and staying there – will continue to increase.

For Pry, now residing at the Ventura County Medical Center in California, a small-town practice is a sure thing. “I’m going to work shoulder-to-shoulder with my father in my clinic in Corey,” he says. He is excited to practice rural family medicine as he will have to dip his hand in various specialties – pediatrics, geriatrics, and cardiology – to care for his patients. “I can’t think of any other specialty or field of medicine where it provides such comprehensive medical care,” says Pry. “It’s really quite diverse, and that’s what I love about it.”

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