Forget about whether there's a doctor in the house; there may not be a doctor in the whole damn town. "My first job in a rural area, I was hired to join another PA in a town with no doctor," Sean continues. "Legally, we have to be able to contact our supervising physician in 30 minutes. We were in damn near Colorado, [while] our supervising physician was in Kansas City, in damn near Missouri."
ejmeyer / iStock
424 miles in a half hour? Surprise: Not every country doc has a G6.
This is technically legal, because calling someone still counts as contact, but in our experience, the words "technically legal" don't inspire much confidence. Luckily, Sean is so good at his job that no one would ever know.
"Us two PAs kept the emergency department [ED] and family practice clinic running this way for three months before we could con a doctor into moving to the boondocks and working with us," Sean says. "Even then, he did not stay long, as greener pastures called him away. The original problem was that doctors all started specializing -- pediatrics, ob/gyn, orthopedics. If you specialize, you need to be in a town with enough people [that] you can get away with just seeing the kids or the women or the joint problems. In the rural areas, they can't afford to pay all these specialists, so they don't exist out here."
bidgee / Wiki Commons
The ER becomes the children's room becomes the colonoscopy lab becomes the enema table becomes the ...