There are many reasons to consider starting your career as a physician at a community hospital.
Deep and meaningful connections with patients. Opportunities to use your expanded functions. The ability to play a direct role in shaping the way health care is delivered.
Small town life, a lower cost of living and the ability to quickly become a civic leader in your community.
Yes, there’s a lot to love about being a physician at a community hospital, not the least of which is the ability to more quickly pay off your physician loans.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, most newly minted physicians face $183,000 in student loan debt once they graduate from medical school. And that doesn’t even include loans associated with their undergraduate education.
That’s a daunting amount of debt. It’s a figure that can affect the choices new physicians make–especially about where to work and how to best address the debt. On a 10-year repayment plan, which is pretty standard, monthly payments are likely to be as much as $2,000.
Many medical school graduates make the decision to chase the giant pay checks at a large, urban hospital. Most put their student loans into forbearance while they complete their residencies. Some choose another route, one that’s located along the road less traveled but often turns out to be a shortcut to debt-free living and long, rewarding careers.
Many new physicians find that starting their careers at a community hospital is not only a practical way to address physician loans but also a great long-term investment in their careers.
Many states, New Hampshire included, offer loan repayment and forgiveness programs. In New Hampshire, the program is run by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. It provides funds to health care professionals who work in areas that have been designated as being medically underserved. To be eligible to participate in the loan repayment program, the physician needs to sign a three-year contract to work full time, usually at a community hospital. It’s a program that is open to doctors of allopathic or osteopathic medicine, psychologists, general surgeons and others. In return, the state offsets graduate and undergraduate loans by contributing up to $75,000 towards the debt. That sort of option can make a big dent in the overall debt burden new doctors face, but that’s not the only financial benefit of working at a community hospital.
In addition to the debt repayment programs, community hospitals offer many other financial benefits.
Most community hospitals are located in smaller cities or towns where the cost of living is less than it is in large, urban areas. This means physicians can enjoy a higher quality of life–nicer vehicles, larger homes, more time for travel.
Starting your career at a community hospital also allows you to get involved sooner in a wider array of cases, which can significantly benefit your career as you grow older and decide which areas of medicine provide the greatest sense of career fulfillment. It can also make you more attractive as your career progresses and you look for other opportunities–either at another hospital or as a leader within your community hospital.
Community hospitals have a lot to offer, including leadership opportunities, real-world experience and the ability to quickly pay off your physician loans.
And you don’t necessarily have to move to a rural area of the country to take advantage of community hospital benefits.
Explore your options. Choose wisely. And make a sound financial decision.
Would you like to start a physician career at a community hospital? Start by learning with Elliot Health System has to offer.
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