Many people tend to flock towards metropolitan areas when searching for jobs. But what about all those rural sprawls? Well, it turns out there are plenty of incentives for doctors to work in rural areas. Sure, there are monetary benefits, but you also gain a greater sense of purpose that is sure to change you for the better!
What’s the incentive for doctors to work in rural areas?
Working a locum tenens job in a remote area may sound intimidating or unappealing, but there are plenty of perks that are sure to grab your attention.
Who doesn’t like a little extra cash, right? As a way to encourage and recruit physicians to rural areas many places will offer signing bonuses. In fact, 71% of doctors are offered a signing bonus when they accept an assignment. Sure, doctors in urban communities may also be offered a signing bonus. However, the amounts vary greatly. Doctors in rural areas received, on average, a signing bonus around $27,000 whereas urban physicians only received about $10,000.
If a signing bonus is not enough of an incentive for doctors to work in rural areas, maybe housing and relocation funds are! Locum tenens are often offered money to cover the cost of their move to their new assignment. We all know how expensive it is to move, so this is definitely a great incentive for doctors to work in rural areas. You can use this extra cash to find new housing accommodations that fit your needs, and cover the cost to move all your essential belongs to your new (temporary) home.
It’s no secret that physicians are well compensated for all of their hard work. But did you know that your location plays a large role in determining your wage? Physicians working in urban and metropolitan areas receive lower salaries. Meanwhile, their rural counterparts are earning an average of 10% more on every paycheck. If you add in the fact that the cost of living is higher in urban areas, that wage gap grows even further. Why? It’s all about supply and demand. There are more physicians working in urban areas, and often for government funded hospitals. However, there are far fewer medical practices in rural areas, which means less competition for positions.
Due to the expansive nature of rural areas, it makes sense that the number of hospitals and medical facilities are far and few between. It’s not uncommon for people living in these rural locations to drive many miles to receive medical attention. It’s even more difficult to receive specialized care. This need for physicians in rural areas can be alleviated with the help of locum tenens!
The incentive for doctors to work in rural areas is that they are able to take on more responsibility. The chances are high that you’ll be one of the only physicians at a given practice, which means you’ll have a lot to manage. You have the important job of utilizing your skills to provide the best possible care to every patient you meet. It’s likely that you won’t have other doctors to consult with in your rural location. This may seem nerve racking, but it gives you the opportunity to grow your skills, learn new techniques, and build confidence in your abilities.
With this added responsibility comes the ability to treat a wide variety of patients. You will see a diversity of patients every day, all presenting with different medical needs. You aren’t nailed down to a specialty and get to explore different aspects of medicine. Having this ability to see a wider range of patients and recommend different treatments is another major incentive for doctors to work in rural areas.
If you like to socialize with new people and build meaningful connections, all while making a difference – then this is definitely the job for you. Working in a rural area will give you a sense of community that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Have you ever heard of the “small town vibe”? Well, you’re likely to experience it first-hand on a rural assignment. Serving your community creates a stronger sense of purpose because you know you’re making a big difference.
After you accept a rural assignment
Once you accept your locum tenens assignment, take the time to do research about the area. You can ask your recruiter for tips, or search the web to learn more about your location. You’ll want to study the facility you’ll be working in to be well prepared. Many times, remote areas are close-knit communities. It’s important to know everything you can about the culture and ideologies of the people who live there. Get familiar with small-town politics, so to speak, before you depart for your locum assignment. It’s also a good idea to get familiar with social groups or organizations in the area because it can be hard to meet people in a town where you feel isolated.
Don’t rely on cell phone service
While cell phone service is reliable in bustling cities and suburb settings, more remote locations can be a different story. In locum tenens assignment areas that have irregular geography, desolate roads and may have a lack of cell phone towers, so coverage can be spotty at best. Make sure you do your research and find out what carrier has the best coverage where you’ll be traveling. This might mean having to switch cell phone carriers or downloading an app that allows you to chat and call people through Wi-Fi instead of cell phone reception.
Have you ever worked in a remote location before? What are some tips you’d give to first timers who are preparing for locum jobs in remote locations? Share with us in the comments below!