Meeting the challenges of workload and building a practice: The perspectives of 10 rural physicians

Robert C. Bowman, Benjamin Crabtree, Janis B. Petzel, Terry S. Hadley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


This qualitative study used in-depth interviews to identify and describe factors regarding the retention of rural physicians. A purposeful sample of 10 established rural physicians from counties of fewer than 10,000 people participated in the study. Analysis of the interview transcripts identified the increased workload involved in building a rural practice to be a major concern of the physicians. The physicians expressed this difficulty in the form of two challenging dilemmas: (1) Towns with only a few physicians presented excellent opportunities for a building practice, but the lack of physicians resulted in more difficult working conditions; and (2) building a practice was described as primarily competitive, but staying in rural practice involved working cooperatively with various competitors. The demands of family, practice, and community interact in a complex fashion. The smallest health systems, those in counties with populations of fewer than 10,000, one hospital, and fewer than five physicians, may represent situations where it is difficult to find a workable solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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