Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why Rural Docs have to leave town if they want a vacation

I've written a few posts already about how medicine has started to take over my life. Apparently, it doesn't necessarily end once you've become a doctor.

A doc at a rural conference I went to told me that in order for them to take a day off, they need to literally leave town.

Why? They explained as follows.

One day, early in their career in the town, the doctor was enjoying a vacation day with his family. The phone rang, and the doctor picked it up. "Doctor, I need your help please."

The doctor explained, "Sorry, today is my day off," and made a mental note to not pick up the phone during his next day off.

The next time he had a day off and the phone rang, he decided he'd let the machine get it, just in case it might have something to do with work. Sure enough, the message started out, "Doctor, I need your help..."

Shortly after, the phone rang again. It was the same number. Another message was left:

"Doctor, please pick up the phone, I know you're home, we can see your car in the driveway."

And that's why doctors in a small town need to leave if they want a break from work. Yep, medicine can take over your life.

If you want to know more about what it's like being a rural doctor, check out this brief article, recently published in the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine: You Know You're a Rural Resident When... Selected highlights:

  • You've delivered a baby in a canoe
  • You've eaten a Canada goose.
  • You've body checked your preceptor during a hockey game.

Read the rest...


Unknown said...

So true.

I shadowed a doc who did family medicine in a small town of about 5,000 people. People called him continually and not just for healthcare but also for get rich schemes, donations, etc. because he's seen as one of the richer more respected individuals in town. That's a lot of responsibility on one guy. Not sure i could do rural medicine.

Paramed said...

I grew up in a county that had one clinic with two doctors. The doctors were almost part of the culture of the area. I could sit and speak with some of older individuals and the conversation almost always included something about doc so and so, our family doc. It's a pretty big responsibility because one mistake quickly echoes throughout a small town .