They don’t tend to make many TV medical dramas about community hospitals.
“ER,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “St. Elsewhere,” “House” and “Chicago Hope” have all been top-rated television shows. All feature physicians working to save and improve lives. And, all are set in large hospitals located in some of the country’s largest cities.
No, they don’t tend to make many TV medical dramas set in community hospitals–but perhaps they should.
While large hospitals located in densely populated urban areas tend to get all of the attention, community hospitals offer an array of benefits that simply shouldn’t be overlooked by any physician who is considering their career options.
In today’s world, quality of life simply can’t be overlooked–and community hospitals offer physicians an incredibly high quality of life. If you find an opportunity at a community hospital, by all means consider the professional opportunities it will afford. But also be sure to look at the personal opportunities. Is the community hospital located in an area where you can live on several acres? Is it near areas where wildlife is abundant and the great outdoors are easily accessible? Will you be able to easily get to work every day, without fighting traffic? These are all important–but frequently overlooked–quality-of-life benefits that community hospitals offer.
Time. It’s a physicians most valuable resource. Unfortunately, too many physicians are finding that they have too little time–especially when it comes to spending time with their patients. Bureaucracy and quotas are taking their toll on physicians at large healthcare systems, where the average time of office visits continue to shrink as doctors work to meet quotas set up by administrators. This isn’t the norm at a community hospital. At a community hospital, physicians typically have more time to focus on their patients. They get to know patients on personal levels. Physicians typically have more information about their patients’ health histories and lifestyles because they get to spend more time with them.
It might seem counterintuitive, but community hospitals often offer physicians with more opportunities to gain valuable experience. Physicians who work in community hospitals typically have to become “Jacks- and Jills-of-all-trades.” There are fewer physicians, so naturally there are fewer specialists. This means that community hospital physicians need to be proficient in a wide range of areas that would likely be passed on to specialists in another hospital setting. The result is that physicians at community hospitals get more opportunities to explore areas of health care they might not otherwise get to explore.
Just because Hollywood seems to ignore the community hospital doesn’t mean you should. If you are looking for a career opportunity that offers a high quality of life, the time you want and need to provide every patient with exceptional care, and opportunities to explore all that health care has to offer, consider community hospitals. They just might be great settings for you.
Elliot Health System is a community hospital. Join us!
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