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Benefits of Working in a Rural Health Setting

Posted on: November 05, 2020

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written by

Ellen Lowry

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To many locum tenens providers, locum work is about exploring. From working in a new setting to visiting a new location on your off days, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, CRNAs, and dentists all choose to travel to new locations in order to broaden their skills and enhance their worldview.

As a locum provider, you may think that going to state of the art facilities in major cities is the best way to gain experience. It is a great way to learn - but it is definitely not the only way. Many of the healthcare facilities that need the most help are in rural areas, ones that aren’t necessarily next to a major airport or a large town. And luckily for locum providers, taking contracts at these types of facilities is an excellent way to both explore and gain a different type of experience. Ahead, we’ll outline four reasons to consider an assignment in a rural area:

Learn About a New Culture

Sure, while you might learn quite a bit traveling to NYC for the first time, there are many other communities to learn about that aren’t as widely known. For example, tribal health facilities exist across the United States, serving American Indians in states such as Alaska and Arizona. By working there, you’ll experience a contract that is truly unique, like attending an Alaskan Salmon Bake or checking out a Pow Wow with Native Coworkers. Smaller communities can be quite welcoming towards travelers, and so long as you are respectful of the culture, you’ll gain a whole different perspective once you’ve been integrated into one of these tight-knit communities.

Round Out Your Skills (While Helping the Underserved)

In a smaller facility, you may find that you have more responsibility than in a large city clinic, as you’ll likely work in more areas of a smaller hospital. That said, you'll likely see low acuity cases. After all, in rural health, major trauma cases will often be sent out to larger facilities. 

Looking to round out your set of skills? Providers who work in rural areas see a wider variety of cases, and learn about the health conditions that are common in the area. You’ll often be caring for patients who are underserved, which will give you a great sense of purpose and meaning. For many of our providers that travel to rural areas, they say it reminds them why they went into healthcare.

Relaxed Pace of Life = Financial Stability 

Commuting to work in a large metropolitan area can be burdensome. And what’s more, the costs of parking passes, public transit, and eating out can start to add up! The cost of living is much lower in rural settings, meaning that you'll likely get more living space for a cheaper price tag. And without the additional coats of living in a city, you’ll be able to save more of your paychecks per assignment. 

Do you have a financial goal, such as paying off student debt, buying a house, or saving enough money to reach FIRE status? Working in a rural environment will keep you on track, both in your career and in monetary matters. 

Outdoor Activities

If you haven’t lived in a place with easy access to nature before, working in a rural setting is a great opportunity.  Sure, rural health settings may be a long distance from the most popular restaurants or tourist attractions, but they are often close to the natural world - including the perfect settings for activities such as hiking, beaches, skiing, fishing, boating, and more. 

In conclusion, if you’re ready to spend some time in nature and away from busy areas, rounding out your skills and helping communities who need it, it may be time to pack your bags! At Barton Associates, we have strong relationships with a number of rural health clients - and will help to match you with one you’ll enjoy. 

Ready to get started? Connect with a Barton Associates recruiter today!

Ellen Lowry
About Ellen Lowry

Ellen Lowry is content marketing specialist and former recruiter for psychiatrists and neurologists at Barton Associates' Peabody, MA, headquarters. Originally from the Boston area, she joined Barton in January of 2018 after earning her degree in communication from the University of Maryland, College Park, and completing a four-month internship at Walt Disney World.

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