As rural hospitals continue to close at the rate of one per month, rural areas in the US are also experiencing a dearth of physicians. One reason for the shortage: Single physicians and married physicians with a highly educated spouses, are less likely to work in rural areas. However, a physician with a spouse who is not highly educated is more likely to be found in farm country. But these physicians are becoming more rare every year, says The Rural Blog.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has discovered something remarkable. In 1960, only 9 percent of doctors were married to spouses with advanced degrees. Today, that number has risen to 55 percent. And that has translated to fewer doctors in sleepy agricultural communities. One solution: increasing the number of nurse practitioners as a means to provide health care to rural populations.