Today was a day where I got to preach to the choir so to speak. The CU Denver medical program has a group out here who have indicated that they want to be involved in medicine in a rural area. So I was one of the speakers for their intro to the area today. It was funny to see such a mix of youngsters. (I'm approaching that age where everyone looks like a youngster to me. I am informed by both my Mom and MIL that it only gets worse the older you get.) The program has everything from medical students to physicians assistants to RNs to ... attending.
Since others were covering economics and existing programs in the area, I concentrated on the adaptation to living in a rural area. I started by asking for a show of hands of all those who grew up in area of 10,000 people or less. About 6 out 30 raised their hands. I then told the group to remember who raised their hands because they will undoubtedly have questions for them.
One of the big social differences in practicing rural medicine is the fact that medical staff and patients know each other outside of the medical relationship. Thus I know my doctor, where he lives, his kids, his wife, and I've even met his father once. On the other hand, he knows the same information about me. He sees me doing my walking and I see him coming back from the gym before 7am as I walk to the radio station on Wednesdays. In metro area medicine, you don't have that same personal contact. So I went through a little of that with them.
Then I touched on the issue of retention. One of the big problems in retaining medical personnel in a rural area is the spouse or SO. The medical person is having the time of their life, seeing and handling things over a broad range that they might never see in a metro practice. But the spouse is feeling like an outcast and quite possibly cannot find work in their chosen field. So in a couple of years, the resolution comes down that they will move to a metro area together or the spouse is going to move alone.
For the singletons, I also brought up some of the limitations of social events. As I used to warn engineers we were recruiting, "I can't ask if you are single or married, but be forewarned that if you don't like family oriented activities, church sponsored events, and/or cowboy bars, you may find your social life a bit sparse." One of the program coordinators asked about sports. I told them that yes, there are city sponsored leagues for about anything that can be dreamed up, but that many of the teams are sponsored by the aforementioned groups. It makes it a great place to raise a family, but a somewhat harder road for the unattached singleton.
And now for something completely different. (With apologies to Monty Python.)
This evening, we had our first official tornado warning of the season. The tornado stayed well north of town, but the warning sirens were blaring and the police and fire were driving up and down the streets warning people to take cover. Ah spring! We've had one tornado touch down in town in my memory, but you have to call wolf every time one is nearby just to be safe.
When I was a little sprat, we lived in town in Nebraska that got hit with tornadoes so often that some people started building their houses underground. I can remember riding in the car from Nebraska to Colorado and being able to see several funnel clouds in the sky at once. I thought it was interesting to watch then, now I'd probably be a bit more worried.
So how was your day?