October 23, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Rural areas typically suffer from a shortage of qualified and trained medical practitioners who prefer to practice in urban settings for reasons ranging from higher salaries to easier availability of modern amenities. This persistent shortage of medical professionals means people who live in rural areas often do not have access to even basic health services. Many of them have to travel for miles to find a good doctor and very often, patients in need of emergency treatment do not get it in time.
If practicing in a non-urban setting had not crossed your mind earlier, it may be something to think about. You will find that rural communities offer a wealth of benefits that you could not hope to experience in any urban setting.
Because of the lack of specialty hospitals and specialist doctors in rural areas, medical practitioners who practice in these areas have to familiarise themselves with a broader range of illnesses. Unlike a typical city setting where your responsibilities would be limited to your specialty, a rural setting will allow you to expand into a number of areas. You will become familiar with different areas of medicine and treat symptoms that you would usually never have come across in the city. This expanded exposure can be invaluable later on in your career.
Rural communities tend to be less densely populated, which means rural doctors can afford to spend more time with each of their patients. Detailed medical histories and examinations can be obtained without pressing time constraints. The smaller population also means familiar faces will keep dropping by. This is great for doctors who believe in getting to know each of their patients and their families personally. This is unlike crowded cities where doctors are always on the clock and don’t have any time to get to know their patients personally.
Doctors in rural areas are often considered to be heroes by the entire community that they serve in because they help cure symptoms and save lives of one of their own. This gives a doctor a hugely respectable status. People in these areas are aware of the sacrifices that their doctor would have made for them and they admire them and look up to them. According to experienced rural doctors, this tremendously rewarding feeling is simply incomparable.
Contrary to what people say about low salaries and unsatisfactory lifestyles in rural areas, the fact is although salaries may be lower, the lifestyle is often a lot better than in the city. With the money that you earn as a doctor in a rural area, you can buy a large area of land and construct a huge house. Compared to this, even with a higher salary in the city, doctors can find it difficult to keep up with astronomical rents and the hugely expensive city life.
With all of these benefits in mind, if you are not a diehard city lover and you do not mind living away from the hustle and bustle of the city, rural areas can be an excellent choice to practice and develop your medical career.