Table 3

Key Strategies Supporting Rural Practice and Representative Quotes

StrategyRepresentative Quotes
Variations in work hours and flexibility“Being part time and resisting the temptation to go more full time just because you’d like more money has absolutely been key for me… If I didn’t have those days in between to recharge… or do the laundry, for heaven’s sake, I don’t know how I would have raised kids…” (Physician 16)
“I have a lot of control over my schedule, and so even if I need to be at something for the kids, I can say, ‘Okay, I’m not going to be here Friday, and instead I can work Tuesday…’ The flexibility is a big deal.” (Physician 4)
“When you’re not totally stressed the house is clean and dinner is made and your charts are done and maybe you exercise. And when that kind of shifts as the pendulum swings… we need cereal and the house is dirty and my charts pile up, and then I just get through it and then it swings back and I have a little space… People say you have to have separation or you have to keep a bright line, but actually I find that having a flexible line between work and home seems to help with balance.” (Physician 1)
Supportive relationships“He stayed home with the kids until about 3 or 4 years ago, and so he was what I always called the responsible parent. He could be depended on to get them where they needed to get to, and then I would get there when I could.” (Physician 17)
“He definitely accommodated my training and where we needed to be. The moves were all dependent on where I was going to go.” (Physician 13)
“My husband and I met in medical school, and we knew that we both wanted to be rural family docs; when we met, that’s what we met saying.” (Physician 4)
“He’s doing the same job I am, so we pretty much share things at home. I mean, we both cut the grass and we both clean, cook, and we took care of the kids… It’s really worked out well for us.” (Physician 2)
“If I needed [my mother] to come over at 2 in the morning because I had a patient in labor, she came over… So she knows my call schedule and knows what’s going on.” (Physician 25)
“My babysitter is very understanding, and what she’s told me is, ‘You know, if you have an emergency, just call me and let me know.’” (Physician 21)
Clear boundaries around work“The doctor that founded our practice missed all of his kids’ stuff growing up because he was always on call, and people would always drop by, and he would drop everything. And so there was a lot of reeducating my patients… there was a little bit of resistance maybe from some people, but the vast majority of people were very understanding.” (Physician 17)