Whether opening a practice, joining a group practice, seeking employment in a health care system or relocating, there are a number of things to consider before making the final decision. In real estate, the 3 most important considerations when buying a house are location, location, and location.  

The same is true of career decisions. Many of your choices will be determined by your preferences about where you would like to live and work.  

The following are some tips on selecting a community in which to practice:  

  • Consider trends in the local obstetrician demographics. These impact the number of newborns (potential new patients). 
  • Contact the local chamber of commerce to find migration trends and the opening of schools, homes, and hospitals. This is often a good predictor of whether the location will be viable. 
  • Discover whether the area you’re considering is a younger community with lots of families. 
  • Identify where patients live. The rule of thumb is that patients will drive 20 minutes to see a​ doctor. This rule may not apply in rural areas. 
  • Assess the competition. Consider the number of acute care services in the community. Examples of acute care services include retail-based clinics (RBCs) and urgent care facilities. RBCs, also called convenient care clinics, are often found in supermarkets, pharmacies, and other similar retail locations. Freestanding urgent care facilities typically provide unscheduled visits but may also allow patients and families to make an appointment.   
  • Consider the number of pediatric care professionals in the area. 
  • Consider referral and admitting patterns in the area. If you will be admitting patients to one or more hospitals, their locations and drive time affect your availability. If you will not be admitting patients, consider the ability to foster relationships with the admitting physicians, whether community hospital or tertiary care.  
  • Think about practicing in a rural area. Rural pediatrics can be a great opportunity to serve children without other options for pediatric care.  

The AAP Committee on Pediatric Workforce provides a report on “State Pediatrician Workforce Survey - July 2015” which includes a series of national maps​ that show findings on several key issues, such as:

  1. Percentage of pediatricians reporting the number of specialists who care for children in their area is poor to fair,
  2. Percentage of pediatricians reporting the wait times for appointments for specialists are poor to fair, and
  3. Percentage of pediatricians who would retire now if affordable.​ 
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American Academy of Pediatrics