Practicing in Rural Areas or Small Town

As a health care provider, would you like to play an important role in the overall health and well-being of your community? Do you like the idea of getting to know your patients and their families over the years? Do you want a career where you get to care for the “whole person” rather than focusing on a narrow specialty? If so, you might consider practicing in a small town or rural area.

Some assume that health care careers are the same everywhere, but a small-town or rural environment can make for a unique and rewarding experience. Small towns may have only one clinic, hospital, or dentist office to serve the entire community. That means the providers who work there may have more opportunities to get to know their patients. They may interact with their patients outside the clinic, as residents of the community, attending the same schools or churches, shopping at the same stores, or going to the same library. These relationships can foster a deep understanding and trust between small-town providers and their patients.

Another advantage to working in a rural or small-town setting is the type of care you may get to provide. Large cities have more health care specialists, and that could mean a more narrow focus in your career. For example, if you are a family doctor working in a large city, you may see your patients in your clinic only when they need a check-up or when they get sick with a minor illness. For other sorts of care, you would likely send them to a specialist, such as a pediatrician, an obstetrician, or a psychiatrist. In a small town or rural setting, these types of specialists just may not be available. In that case, the small-town family doctor might have a more well-rounded practice—caring for children, delivering babies, or offering mental health care. Many providers say this kind of “whole person” care is very rewarding.

Another advantage to a career in rural health is that nearly all types of providers are always in high demand. This means employers are often looking to hire qualified workers. Rural regions and small towns always need providers to fill important roles across the health care spectrum. Professionals looking for work experiences that are hard to find in big cities might find success in rural regions.

So, even if you grew up in an urban area and never thought of “going rural,” a rural health career might just be for you.

Visit in-demand health care careers to find careers in every region in Minnesota.

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