As the professional hockey season winds down and major league baseball is getting ready to gear up, both sports are subject to a lot of player movement. It is quite common to hear sports broadcasters talk about how certain players just needed a ‘change of scenery’ to get things going again. If that’s true for athletes, could it also be true for family medicine practitioners? Perhaps.
There may be no scientific reason explaining why a slumping athlete would suddenly begin playing better by leaving his old team and joining a new one halfway across the country. But we cannot deny that it happens. Maybe the athlete enjoys some sort of positive energy from changing locations. Perhaps it is a difference in team management or the chemistry in the clubhouse. Whatever the case, a change of scenery has proven helpful on more than one occasion.
In the arena of family medicine, it is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day rut of being part of family practice. The doctor works in the same small office, surrounded by the same staff, seeing the same kinds of cases for 8 to 10 hours per day. The rut can be enough to encourage lethargy in just about any doctor.
From Urban to Rural
When we talk about a change of scenery for doctors, it is often within the framework of moving from an urban practice to a more rural one. Doctors who make such moves are leaving big city environments in favor of small towns in America’s heartland. They are leaving big cities like New York in favor of small, seaside hamlets along the coast. And a lot of them are forever grateful they chose to do it.
Major metropolitan environments tend to be where all the action is. If a doctor is looking for opportunities to rub elbows with his or her profession’s elite, the big city is the place to do it. If position and status are important, both are found in urban centers. Family medicine jobs are remarkably different in rural America.
The pace in a rural environment is a lot slower. Both doctors’ offices and hospitals are smaller, patient loads are not as heavy, and people tend to spend more time together whether they are having coffee or talking business. Leaving the big city to go work at a rural family medicine practice can be quite refreshing – even if it is just because rural medicine is more relaxed.
Another benefit cited by doctors who have left the city for rural environments is that of enjoying more open spaces abundant with natural beauty and pleasantly lacking in traffic, pollution, and noise. There’s a lot to be said for taking your family medicine job to a rural community.
A Fresh Start and New Perspective
Whether a doctor chooses to go rural or not, what we’re really talking about is a fresh start. With that fresh start comes a new perspective. Family medicine doctors, be they private practice owners or employee doctors transitioning to locum work, are like anyone else. They can benefit from a fresh start and the new perspective that fresh start offers.
If you are a family medicine doctor feeling like you are stuck in a rut and digging ever deeper with each passing day, maybe you need a change of scenery. Perhaps it’s time to start looking for work in another location completely different from where you live now. A simple change of scenery works for a lot of other people; it may be just what you need to reinvigorate your love for family medicine.