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Rural Social Connections Draw Healthcare Professionals

The availability of healthcare professionals in rural areas lags that of urban areas, partly because of difficulties in recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals.

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that when choosing rural locations to practice, healthcare professionals most often cite social aspects, such as the friendliness of the town, as an important factor in their decision. Similar factors come into play when these professionals choose to stay in their rural small towns. Other factors that reflect the importance of social relationships included being a good place to raise a family, having relatives or friends living nearby, familiarity with the area, the quality of professional contacts, and if the professional’s family was settled in the town.

Other factors, such as the quality of the medical community, the quality of schools, and opportunities for professional growth, also were cited as important. USDA compiled the data for its Healthcare Professionals Seek Social Connections When Moving to Rural Towns publication.

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