AFTCO

Quality of Life and the Rural Practice

Would you like to know where, in this day and age, a dentist is still called “Doctor” and is held in the highest esteem by his/her neighbors? Would you like to know where a dentist’s standard of living could be considerably increased without having to devote most, if not all, of his/her waking hours in the office? Would you like to know where you can afford to buy a big house your first year in practice instead of living in a cramped apartment for years? Or how about buying a BMW while still being able to afford to take three or four weeks vacation to some nice resorts?

Does this lifestyle sound good to you? Well, you're not going to find it living and working in the big cities or their suburban areas. You can, however, enjoy this lifestyle by acquiring a practice in one of many small, rural communities located in your state.

Don’t get me wrong. Cities have their advantages too, like the theater, ballet, museums, etc. But you’ll find that the average person living in suburbia has little time to enjoy these big city benefits. Living in the city takes a lot more money, which leaves less, money for such entertaining endeavors.

As a matter of fact, professional people from the rural areas come into the big city, stay at nice hotels and probably enjoy more of the city on a long weekend than their big city counterparts do all year long. A trip to the city becomes an adventure for rural professionals instead of a nightmarish trek along the crowded highways that is faced by their big city colleagues, both prior to and following an evening performance.

Do you like the idea of wearing L.L. Bean and cowboy boots as office attire? Do you like the idea of trading a root canal for lift tickets at a nearby ski resort? Do you like the idea that going fishing means closing the office and strolling to a nearby lake for the rest of the day? Would you like to exchange hunting and fishing stories with most of your patients?

Do you like being respected and called “Doctor” by your patients? Do you like the idea of being a friend and neighbor to your patients? Friends do not bring malpractice suits against their friends, and that is statistically true for rural areas, especially when the only lawyer in town is your patient.

Do you take comfort in knowing that “OSHA” is considered just another mysterious government acronym for some federal agency that is not valued much by the local people? I have been told that, when asked directions, rural people tell OSHA inspectors that “you can’t get there from here!”

If these subtle, but real benefits appeal to you, then you need to give some strong consideration to acquiring a rural practice. These practices have less competition, lower expenses, more patients, and more net income. You will be able to afford to go more places to spend that net income than most of your big city colleagues. And you’ll pay less for the practice to boot.

If you want to give up traffic jams, high office rent, unappreciative and demanding patients, high staff turnover, etc., etc., etc., then it is time to head for the hills. “There’s gold in them there hills,” and it is in a rural practice.

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