Physician Assistants Needed in Suburban and Rural Areas

Physician Assistants Needed in Rural Areas

Physician assistants (PA’s) are needed in small towns, suburbs and cities across America to supplement America’s shrinking work force of physicians as primary care providers. Specifically, job opportunities for PA’s are growing rapidly in rural areas. This is partially due to a large number of family practice and general practitioner physicians who are retiring.

In addition, many younger physicians and residents find the necessary specialty and research experience they need in larger hospitals in big cities. This creates a prime opportunity for newly minted physician assistants to seek out job openings in community clinics and smaller rural hospitals in one of America’s many small towns.

Small town residents considering a career as a physician assistant may want to alert local community organizations. Many local groups have been known to at least partially fund or sponsor the education of aspiring health care providers who express a commitment to returning to their hometown once they’re licensed. The “contract” may be nothing but a verbal promise and a handshake, but if you cherish your rural roots and want to provide health care for your community, they may be grateful enough to help out with financial aid.

Many rural clinics are set up to address the daily health care needs of patients without insurance and those who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Others are designed to divert patients away from already overpopulated emergency rooms in hospitals.

Still others exist to prevent small town residents from having to travel long distances to see a doctor. Statistics show that about 40 percent of patients who utilize community clinics for their primary health care, are lacking insurance. The new economic stimulus package provides $500 million in funding over two years for community clinics with an additional $1.5 billion earmarked for construction of new community health centers across the country.

There may be a period of adjustment for some physician assistants and their families, when accepting a new job in a rural area, especially for those transitioning from the big city. However, most find the new opportunities well worth it because of the close connections they are able to forge with their patients and the community in general. This level of care is the very reason many PA’s enter their profession in the first place.

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