By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
As President Obama works to repair, restore or recycle our nation’s health care system (depending on the media report), a state he once called home is dealing with the same physician shortage the rest of the country is. Hawaii may be one of the closest things America has to a model of what universal health care might look like, however, without enough physicians to serve the islands’ population of residents and tourists, universal access may be a moot point.
Most of Hawaii’s supply of physicians and primary care providers comes from the University of Hawaii’s family practice residency program. The new Hilo Medical Center Foundation’s Rural Family Practice Residency Program has been opened to help with the demand for new doctors. The Ohana health insurance company recently donated $5,000 to assist with start-up costs for the new Hilo residency program and accompanying clinic.
Even with this assistance, Hawaii is at a disadvantage in the nationwide physician shortage. Many island areas are the epitome of underserved rural populations, the state lacks training facilities and it can be costly for physicians who wish to permanently relocate to Hawaii.
This is excellent news for traveling physicians looking for an all expenses paid short or long term locum job assignment. The best news, however, for Locum tenens physicians, traveling nurse practitioners, and travel physician assistants, is that – well – it’s Hawaii! Unless you are completely averse to continuous sunny, warm weather, balmy breezes, breathtaking island scenery and an abundance of leisure activities for your days off, Hawaii is one of those dream travel assignments that make locum tenens job searching and assignment planning actually fun.
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.