There are many different acronyms for medical professionals to pay attention to in healthcare and one of them is MUA. This stands for medically underserved areas, and this is a population of people that is designated by the HRSA as having too few primary care providers. There are also higher instances of infant mortality being higher, high poverty rates, and a higher elderly population.
Working with and caring for the underserved in communities where residents are below the poverty line is harrowing for some in the medical community. Nurses and doctors who work in medically underserved areas come across a significant number of chronic health issues, medical disabilities, and more. The people in these geographically isolated areas tend not to have enough medical providers to meet the demands of the service in the area. This means that there is a serious lack of care - and yet doctors and nurses tend to avoid rural areas when they are completing their training.
Medically underserved areas are often filled with less people than in cities and bigger towns. These areas are determined by the number of people living in those areas vs the number of medical professionals able to help them. Many newly qualified doctors and nurses avoid the rural areas when they have graduated as these are located in remote places that are far from the local villages and cities that they are used to working in. The rural areas are often over an hour from most civilizations, and this physical isolation can be tough for newly qualified medical staff. It’s usually this isolation that discourages most young doctors from joining these rural areas, despite the fact that there are people who really need it.
There are myths that state that doctors working in rural areas make much more than those in urban areas. This isn't usually the case - the margins certainly aren't as high as 30% above the cities and urban areas. Usually, rural doctors make 5-10% more than urban areas, and this is because of the extra cash needed to travel to more populated areas.
There are many issues that come about from medically underserved areas. It’s not just a lack of doctors and medical professionals that is the problem, but a lack of equipment and medicines, stock for bandages, and operating theatres. There is a reason that smaller hospitals transport patients to the urban hospitals, and it’s mostly because they don't have the resources to help them. There are a lot of problems faced by those working in rural hospitals and clinics. The infrastructure often isn't enough, and there is an unmanageable patient load. There are also higher out-of-pocket expenses to consider.
People in medically underserved areas need more help, more doctors, and more resources. Healthcare shouldn't be just for those in the cities, not when there are people living in all areas who need help, healthcare, and more support. There are more programs for doctors to train into rural medicine now than ever before.