Blog | Wednesday, January 4, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Rural hospital recruits doctors through leave for missionary work

A rural hospital on the verge of closing because of problems retaining its rotating door of physicians offered two months of leave for missionary work to keep a more stable roster. It worked, according to a profile written by the Associated Press.

All employees at Ashland Health Center in Kansas, from maintenance staff to the doctors, get two months off to do missionary work in other countries or other volunteering duties for the community. The move has attracted socially minded physicians and their families, many of whom had backgrounds in missionary work already and wanted an environment to keep doing it. The recruitment was developed with support of the Via Christi medical residency program in Wichita, which is sponsored in turn by the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

It's not the only effort underway in Kansas. The shortage of primary care physicians in most of Kansas' 105 counties, coupled with the state's recognition that most of its rural counties are medically underserved, prompted other programs, such as recruiting medical students from in-state who would choose primary care and return to their small-town Kansas roots.

Other programs across the country are fast-tracking medical students or providing real-life training environments to get the students to rural communities sooner.

There's a dire need for such programs, one physician explains in her post about creating a palliative care consulting service in rural America.