Rural New England Boasts Opportunities for Improved Quality of Life
In addition to experiencing the picturesque scenery and neighborly charm typically associated with rural America, making the transition to from an urban environment to a smaller community boasts some unexpected benefits. A 2010 study from the Journal of Economic Geography uncovered three main reasons some rural areas have grown instead of shrunk: the creative class, entrepreneurial activity and outdoor amenities. In 2012, a University of Minnesota research fellow called the influx of 30-to-40-somethings into rural towns a “brain gain” — flipping the conventional wisdom on the exodus from the boonies to the big city.
Rural New England towns have been attracting formerly urban folk for decades: the small port town of Eastport, Maine has recently set up a local museum and art institute and has begun converting derelict downtown buildings into luxury condos and studio spaces for an artist-in-residency program.
As the melting Canadian arctic permits more northwest passages to Asia, Eastport becomes by far the closest U.S. Atlantic Seaboard port to China, Korea, and Japan, opening up additional shipping opportunities in this port town.
Additional economic expansion in rural Maine has manifested itself in the form of “torrefied” wood pellets. "The decline of the newspaper-publishing industry is reducing demand for some kinds of wood products from Maine. The onslaught of global warming has increased demand for low-carbon fuels. Torrefaction is a process designed to convert pulp and wood by-products, including stumps, into briquette-like pellets. When these are substituted for coal in electric-power plants, they can significantly cut carbon emissions. With state and federal aid, the Port Authority has invested $9 million in an enormous conveyer-belt system that will make Eastport the fastest, cheapest site for sending pellets and wood chips to Europe." - James Fallows. (You can read more about the revitalization of Eastport in Fallows' article in The Atlantic.)
Creative and economic revivals in small New England towns like Eastport facilitate job openings and opportunities to take your healthcare expertise into a rural environment; FMCNA is currently hiring in Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. FMCNA clinics in rural areas provide crucial care for a largely underserved segment of the population and, relative to urban living environments, these New England areas offer some incentives in the form of improved quality of life:
A shorter commute is just one benefit of rural living. For many, less travel time equates to more time for the important things in life, like family and friends. Plus, you’ll save tons of money now that you don’t have to fill up the gas tank or buy a bus pass!
With physicians coming out of training with such high debt, rural communities may offer significant advantages in being able to provide very nice lifestyles, while reducing debt at the same time. Smaller communities may make incoming healthcare professionals eligible for more federal and/or state loan repayment programs. Also, the cost of living in rural areas is generally significantly less in comparison to urban areas. In other words, you’ll get more “bang for your buck”!
Sense of Community
What’s great about rural America is the fact that “everyone knows everyone’s first name.” (Or at least that is what they say!) Small towns tend to act as a tightknit community, which is why they are such a great place to raise a family.
Perhaps one of the greatest perks of rural living is its abundance of greenery! With lots of parks, lakes, and trails, you can appreciate nature on a daily basis – and stay in shape, too!
Working in a rural community relieves many stressors associated with urban life, such as traffic, long commutes, and a higher cost of living. More time at home with family, in conjunction with a tightknit community and lots of outdoor recreation opportunities, can help improve work-life balance.
You can read more about the specific perks associated with being a medical professional in rural America from the 3RNet organization.