Satisfaction With Practice and Decision to Relocate: An Examination of Rural Physicians
The goal of this project was to improve our understanding of the dynamics of physician practice location decision making. The inability of rural areas to attract and retain physicians has been of concern to health services researchers and policymakers for many years. This project tracked practice locations of a cohort of physicians using information on physicians who were identified during the early stages of their medical careers as part of the National Survey of Rural Physicians (NSRP), conducted in 1993-1994 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These data were supplemented with information on the current practice locations of physicians in the cohort, and with data from a follow-up survey that also asked a battery of satisfaction questions. For the subset of sampled physicians who responded to the NSRP, we identified factors correlated with the decision to maintain a rural practice. Contingency tables were used to test a variety of hypotheses concerning factors affecting the physician's decision to continue practice in a rural community, along with statistical analyses to examine relationships between these factors.