Undergraduate Research Journal


Rural communities have difficulty establishing and maintaining a quality healthcare workforce. Twenty percent of Americans compose the rural populations in this country, but only nine percent of physicians practice in these rural areas. From 2000 to 2020, the demand for orthopaedic physicians is expected to increase by 23%, mainly due to the aging population of the United States. Although the demand for orthopaedic surgeons to these underserved, aging rural populations is increasing, there is a shortage which continues to grow in rural areas. One possible driving force of this shortage could be the recruitment strategies exercised by the healthcare managers in these rural communities. Orthopaedic surgeons may avoid work in a rural area due to its remoteness, lack of new technology, and few opportunities for family members. The objective of this study was to identify factors that could enhance recruitment of orthopaedic surgeons to health care facilities in rural Nebraska using Lexington Regional Health Center (LRHC), one of Nebraska’s critical access hospitals, as a case study. Strategies such as loan repayment plans, competitive pay, “humanizing” the work environment, and motivational analysis show promising solutions to recruitment strategies in rural healthcare.



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