If you are a family medicine locum provider, you might want to consider Hawaii for future assignments. The Aloha State has plenty of openings for practitioners of all kinds, including family medicine doctors. A recent report out of the University of Hawaii suggests that the state needs about 245 physicians right now.
Family medicine is just one area of need. The state also needs cardiologists, oncologists, obstetricians, and on and on. In relation to the University of Hawaii report, there are a couple of lessons we can learn from it. The report sheds a little bit more light on Hawaii’s ongoing doctor shortage, what is causing it, and what is being done to address it.
Physicians Leaving the State
At the center of the report is data showing that a significant number of physicians have left Hawaii last year. According to the report, 152 doctors left in 2019. Why they left and where they went to isn’t quite clear. Regardless, the loss of that many doctors was exacerbated by a few other things.
Apparently, 91 doctors retired last year as well. Another 123 reduced their work hours while four passed away. As such, the state is looking at a total loss of 137 full-time physicians along with fewer hours put in by more than 120 others.
As dire as it sounds, things are not as bad as they appear. The University of Hawaii report also shows that the number of new doctors entering practice in Hawaii has made up for the losses. And in fact, Hawaii saw a net gain of 47 doctors in 2019. Fewer than 50 barely makes a dent in the overall shortage, but at least there was a net gain.
Educating Physicians Locally
One would think that Hawaii’s tropical environment would attract doctors from all over the country. After all, if you’re looking for family medicine jobs, you might just as well look in paradise, right? Perhaps not. It turns out that Hawaii’s net gain has more to do with local education than nationwide recruiting.
The University of Hawaii says that the state used to suffer from a severe shortage of cardiologists. That changed when the John A. Burns School of Medicine added a fellowship for training heart specialists. Likewise, the Hawaii Island Family Medicine program has been concentrating on training family medicine doctors. They have helped to reduce the shortage of family medicine practitioners in the state.
Research shows that doctors trained in Hawaii are more likely to stay in the state afterward. In fact, it is not even close. Locally trained physicians are 80% more likely to practice in Hawaii compared to those trained elsewhere.
Slowly Making Progress
Assuming that what is happening in Hawaii is indicative of the rest of the country, it would appear as though we are slowly making progress toward eliminating the doctor shortage. Now we need to pinpoint where the shortages for each discipline are most profound and employ proven strategies in those places.
Meanwhile, locum tenens providers will continue to address staffing shortages from cardiology to emergency medicine and family medicine. Locums provide a valuable service that makes it possible for our healthcare system to continue serving patients at the highest levels.
Do you practice family medicine? Are you fresh off your residency and now in search of locum tenens family medicine jobs? Take a look at Hawaii. They have jobs for you to consider. If you are a locum tenens provider, definitely consider Hawaii for your assignment rotation. There are few places in these United States where you can enjoy practicing medicine in such an idyllic environment.