There is a perception within the healthcare staffing industry that recruiters and doctors focus much of their attention on high-paying specialties at the expense of community healthcare needs. Is the perception true? It is hard to say. Given how profound the doctor shortage currently is, just about every healthcare facility in the country has at least one vacant clinical position. What we can say is that community healthcare clinics need doctors just as much as high-powered hospitals.
Our industry expects that locum doctors will be especially attuned to high-paying assignments in high demand specialties. After all, doctors need to earn a living too. Yet every living, breathing person needs healthcare services. For many of them, the only place such services can be accessed is the community healthcare center. Therefore, we need more doctors willing to take assignments in those community centers.
If you are currently a locum or planning to become one in the future, here are three reasons to consider taking community healthcare assignments, at least from time to time:
1. The Patients Who Need Care
Community healthcare clinics exists to serve patients who do not have access to services through traditional means. They are patients who do not have top-notch healthcare insurance provided by their employers.
Without community healthcare, many of these patients would go years without ever seeing a doctor. If an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure, we all need to work harder to make sure community healthcare works.
2. The Personal Care You Provide
When a person who does not have a regular family doctor heads to the emergency room for treatment, that person is likely to participate in a very impersonal experience. This is not to criticize emergency departments. In fact, America’s EDs are so overwhelmed at this point that it is all but impossible for them to provide a personal experience to every patient who comes in. Community healthcare centers are different.
One of the hallmarks of community healthcare is personalization. Doctors spend time talking with and listening to patients. They take the time to understand who they are treating. They more easily see patients as people rather than names on a chart. For many patients, the personal interest their community healthcare doctors take in them is the most personal interest they will ever experience.
3. The Communities You Serve
Lastly, the community healthcare concept is built on the principle that healthy communities are stronger communities. When a locum tenens physician spends at least some amount of time in the community healthcare environment, that doctor is helping to build a stronger community by caring for the people who live there.
Community healthcare makes communities stronger by encouraging preventive medicine. It allows local emergency departments to better treat the most critically ill patients by alleviating them of the responsibility of routine care that is better provided in a community setting. It encourages patients to take better care of themselves, thereby reducing the stress on local agencies tasked with providing social services.
Community healthcare plays a vital role in the health and safety of untold numbers of Americans. Without it, how many patients would be only limited to the vital healthcare services they need? We cannot answer that, but we do know that locum physicians play a pivotal role in keeping community healthcare clinics operating. Every locum tenens physician should be devoting at least some time to community healthcare.