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How to Choose an NHSC Site

Choosing an NHSC-approved site and a community where you’ll be practicing and living is a big decision.

As you begin to weigh your options, consider your answers to the following questions.

Site Location

  • In which three to five states would I like to live?
  • Do I want to work in an urban, rural, or frontier area?
  • Would I like to be a certain distance from the city, mountains, or beach?
  • Do I want to be near a family member or close to where I studied?
  • Am I willing to accept a long work commute, and what kind of transportation options are available?

Site Size and Patient Population

  • Will I thrive in a large, mid-size, or small environment?
  • Do I want a site that has satellite locations or mobile vans that are also NHSC-approved where I can spend some of my time?
  • What population groups (e.g., homeless, migrants) would I like the opportunity to work with more?
  • Do I have additional language skills that I want to use?
  • What disease areas are of particular interest to me (e.g., diabetes, HIV/AIDS)?

Organizational Support

  • Does the site’s mission and goals align with mine?
  • Do I want a site that already has a health information technology system or one that is just beginning to transition to an electronic system?
  • Is having on-site ancillary services such as laboratory, pharmacy, and x-ray important to me?
  • What kinds of resources are most important to me—certain clinical support or administrative staff?
  • Are there opportunities to support my continued medical education training?
  • What are the opportunities for growth?

Work Schedule

  • What type of on-call schedule can I manage?
  • Does it matter if I work Monday through Friday, or would I prefer a non-traditional schedule?
  • What kind of flexibility do I need so I can fulfill my personal responsibilities and needs?

Family Considerations

  • What kind of community amenities are a priority for my family (e.g., places of worship, housing, schools, day care, leisure and cultural activities, special medical needs)?
  • Are there employment opportunities for my spouse or partner?
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