Most people who grow up in a small town will be quick to tell you why there is no better place to live. There’s an almost magical culture to them, with everyone knowing one another and all working together as a community. Growing up in a rural community can likely provide you with an array of health benefits, such as running freely in the grass and absorbing plenty of fresh air.
However, when it comes to medical care, it’s possible to have some trepidation. Whether you grew up in a small town, or you’ve just recently moved out there, consider these reasons to give your local practitioner a try before heading to the big city for an appointment with a primary care physician.
You may hold some preconceived notions about the quality of the doctors in your area. Keep in mind, however, that the requirements to become a doctor are governed by entities larger than just your community. In order to become doctors, the primary care physicians near you had to attend medical school and pass qualifying examinations. Even if the local doctor works in a small office instead of a large hospital or medical center, their training will be on-par with the rest of their peers and colleagues.
They may have chosen to come to a rural area in order to help out the community. The fact that they are working in a rural community does not mean they are bad doctors. It is perfectly reasonable to think that they may not have access to all the same medical equipment that would be available in a larger medical center, but for the most part local practitioners know when your care requires tech or treatments they don’t have, and will refer you to someone else if they feel ill equipped to help you.
Typically even someone with a bachelor degree in health information management is more experienced than a laymen, so anyone who has completed medical school is worth consulting for advice.
If you decide to see a doctor in a place farther away from your home, you will have to travel. While that might be fine if you have an extended period of time off from work or if the doctor is open on the weekends, consider how this commute can affect you in the future. You may start to skip appointments or to avoid going to the doctor entirely because he or she is too far away, which defeats the purpose of seeking a qualified practitioner in the first place.
Having a practitioner who lives in the same community as you gives you more flexibility in your scheduling than you may have ever experienced before. It also opens up the he possibility of house calls, and guarantees that you will almost always have access to your doctor when you need them.
Another issue is that an emergency could happen. While you may not be able to get an appointment with your doctor right away, you may want to request that he or she meets you at the local hospital. If the doctor is stationed hours away from your home, that might not be an option. Even if he or she can eventually meet you at the hospital, it could take a while for that to happen.
There is probably not an emergency room in your small town, so it’s always a good idea to take some time to find out where the closest hospital is, or look into ambulance options in your area. Your local practitioner probably knows a lot about the various medical care options in your vicinity and can likely give you resources to use in an emergency, or in the event that they are away when an illness occurs.
Increasing Connections to Referrals
One of your biggest concerns might not actually have to do with the primary care physician him or herself. You may be worried about what will happen if a referral is necessary. Fortunately, the connections to referrals are developing. Just consider how useful modern technology, such as the internet, is in establishing bonds with people across the world. In fact, the breakdown of geographic barriers has made social work in rural communities better than ever.
Working with a local doctor can make your life easier. You may find that you benefit greatly from the highly personalized care and individual attention you get from them. Instead of relying on generalizations about rural doctors, allow experience and knowledge to guide you.