What happens when an eager young doctor in a rural community with a passion to make a difference becomes the medical director for the nursing home, the overseer of the town’s emergency medical service, the football team’s sideline doctor, the clinic’s medical director, and the hospital’s trauma director and chief of staff?
And has two children?
This wasn’t a scenario we made up. This is a real story highlighted in a recent article by the Rural Health Information Hub:
Randall Longenecker, MD, FAAFP, serves as assistant dean for rural and underserved programs at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and is the Executive Director of the national RTT Collaborative. He is an advocate of teaching medical students and residents skills to build their resilience and help them deal with the stresses of rural practice.
In Longenecker’s experience, rural settings can actually encourage providers to admit they have a problem. “One of the advantages of living in a ‘glass house’ where everyone knows each other’s business is that (burnout) quickly becomes apparent to others,” said Longenecker.
Providers who build strong relationships within their community also have an advantage when dealing with burnout. “Resilience, or the ability to persist and thrive through hardship, is a competency for a rural practice,” commented Longenecker. “Hardship itself is not the most important contributing factor (to physician burnout), the lack of healthy relationships is.”
Read the full article here.