Finding the perfect hospital, clinic or other institution to work at is crucial to a medical professional’s job success and satisfaction. But another factor – the city you’ll live in to practice at that institution – is often second, third or not even on the checklist for workplace utopia.
Just in case you were wondering which ones offer the most opportunities for your career and overall happiness in the workplace (and out), here below are 20 of the best U.S. cities to practice medicine in and the reasons they rock to work there:
Texas and the rest of the Southwest
San Antonio, Texas
This West Texas town features a state-of-the-art center for military medicine and is home to the world renowned BAMC burn unit. San Antonio is also one of the only cities with three Level One trauma centers. The city’s South Texas Medical Center is one of the largest in the country.
In addition to being a wonderful city in which to live and raise a family, Houston will soon be home to a new premier medical complex and the largest medical training campus in the world.
Huntsville Memorial Hospital has been recognized as an outstanding place to practice medicine by Medical Economics magazine. Interestingly-enough, the publication also lists Texas as the best state for doctors.
The Milken Institute ranks Boston as the #1 life sciences cluster in America.
Its National Institutes of Health funding – at around $2 billion – is the highest in the country.
New York, New York
Though the cost of living in New York is the most expensive of any major city in the U.S., the opportunities are tremendous and the city ranks #2 for NIH funding: $1.2 billion US.
This modest settlement of 4,600 is bustling with restored 19th Century architecture, upscale restaurants, and small-town charm. Its proximity to Boston, the Massachusetts academic community, and a myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities makes Littleton a top choice based on quality of life.
California and the West
Klamath Falls, Oregon
With a population just under 20,000, Klamath Falls – just north of the California border – has done a good job of luring former Californians with lower housing costs and 300 days of sunny weather each year. The town’s largest employer is the Sky Lake Medical Center, a hospital and outpatient clinic. Says one recruiter: “There’s great retention, great quality of life, and the hospitals are being really progressive with call pay and making it worth your while.”
Longwood, North Carolina
The city Medical Center alone received almost a billion dollars in research money on average for the past five years or so: “roughly equal to the 2004 totals of the NC Research Triangle” cites one insider.
The town of 15,000 in the northeast corner of the state sits at the base of the breathtaking Cumberland Mountains and 70,000-acre Lake Guntersville. “A lot of people don’t think about Alabama as a great place to live, but we’ve had a lot of activity down there,” says one medical staff recruiter. “There are some very affluent communities.”
Beckley, West Virginia
This tiny southwest West Virginia coal-mining hub of about 17,000 citizens is located 45 minutes south of Charleston and home to Mountain State University’s 8,200 students.
Recruiters say doctors here are doing very well financially. That, combined with a low cost of living and attractive natural amenities makes for a wonderful quality of life.
At just under 8,000, Ripon is about 90 minutes south of Green Bay, home to Ripon College, and the Ripon Medical Center, which includes a heart and lung center and cancer clinic. Pay is also above average compared to cost-of-living, or otherwise.
Indianapolis and New Castle, Indiana
Situated 49 miles northeast of the big city, 18,000-strong New Castle offers small-town living close to Indianapolis, but is also home to Henry County Memorial Hospital, with lots of opportunities to practice at the facility right in this small town, still close to major universities, colleges, and other research institutions.
Gary’s cost-of living was well below the national median, and only nine states have fewer doctors per thousand people. Also, the competitiveness of Indiana’s insurance market is low enough that doctors don’t seem to feel overwhelmed by the demands of too many payers. Indiana is one of only six states described as “currently OK” by the AMA when it comes to malpractice climate.
Williston, North Dakota
This oil-boom town of 12,000 is home to Mercy Medical Center, which includes a cancer center, primary care clinic, and wellness center. Though weather in the state gets a bad rap because of the movie Fargo, Williston’s average high temperature of 19 degrees in January is comparable to most Upper-Midwestern states.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
A town – as with the rest of the state – that is fairly friendly to doctors from the perspective malpractice climate, as well as having a need and great respect for new incoming doctors. Pay is above average and ratios of doctors-to-patients are favorable, despite the staff shortage.
Only 30 minutes west of the Twin Cities, and it boasts an outdoor playground of natural beauty…plus a community indoor water park. The town is an especially friendly place to build a primary care practice in or near Minneapolis/St. Paul, then come home to this cozy settlement of 9,000 on the shores of Lake Waconia.
Recently named one of the best cities to practice medicine in America by Medial Economics Magazine:
While Kansas doesn’t actually top-out on any best-of lists, it sits near the top on a lot of them. Wichita gets high marks for favourable patient-to-doctor ratios and gosh-darn friendly locals. At 350,000, Wichita is the state’s largest city. That density, coupled with all the other surprising delights of the region makes the town the best area in the state in which to practice.
Despite what you may have heard about sky-high prices in the far north, Anchorage is actually more affordable than Atlanta or Cincinnati. And this wilderness playground needs physicians badly. Incentives to relocate are plentiful and you can fly nonstop to Hawaii for vacation.
If you’re looking for the Northern Exposure experience, you won’t find it in this modern frontier town of 8,800: The state’s fourth-largest city boasts a rainy but mild year-round climate compared to most of Alaska and is home to the Sitka Medical Center. At lunch, go whale watching or check out one of the many local seafood restaurants.
Though we think these are 20 of the best cities in which to practice, they certainly aren’t the full list of obvious choices hidden gems out there. What other locales do you think are among the best places to practice medicine in America. Got another city? Reveal your picks in the comment fields below…