Shadowing a Doctor

June 20, 2015

Paediatrics mentor conducting ward rounds with the students One of the big decisions you will have to make after you graduate from medical school is whether you should look for a job in the large city or in a small town or rural area. From the kind of facilities you will work with to the kind of patients you will treat, the experience of practicing medicine in a small town can be quite different from that of practicing in a large city. This does not mean that one is better than the other. What it does mean however is that you have to determine which one would be better suited to your personality.

This decision could impact your professional development and career success for years to come so it is important that you put some thought into it.

  • Earning Potential & Cost Of Living

Doctors who set up their practice in the city earn much more than their counterparts in rural areas but on the other hand, the cost of living is higher too. Whether you choose to buy or rent, the cost of estate is much lower in smaller towns, which means you pay less not just for your home but also for your office space. Since wages are overall lower, it also means you will have to pay lower salaries to your support staff.

  • The Competition Factor

Setting up in a smaller town will mean that you have much less competition. The majority of doctors like to work in the bigger cities. In most large cities, there is a clinic at every corner. However, if you choose to set up a clinic in a smaller city, you may just be the only doctor in your entire area. Not only will this mean that you’ll save on advertising costs but it will also mean that you will build a loyal client base and you won’t have to worry about retaining your clients.

  • Doctor-Patient Relationship

In smaller towns everybody tends to know everybody else. Patients and doctors also usually get to know each other and their families personally over a period of time and build long term relationships with each other. This is an ideal situation for someone who cherishes the idea of nourishing relationships their clients and their families as opposed to the relative anonymity of a larger hospital. However, if you prefer not to have your patients intrude into your personal life, a rural practice is not for you.

  • The Overall Pace Of Life & The Stress Factor

Every doctor has a different definition of the ideal kind of life. Some thrive on stress and a faster pace of life whereas others look for something more laid back. If you belong to the latter category, a smaller town is what you should be looking at.    Life in a smaller town is less stressful. There is less traffic, more space, fewer people and the lifestyle is overall more relaxing. This kind of life is great for those who have other priorities besides only practicing as a doctor. If you would rather spend more time with your family, take the weekends off, travel a couple of times a year or simply work only for a few hours a day, life in a smaller town is definitely the place for you.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.