Television and movies often tug on the heart strings of nostalgia when they portray a country doctor. This is the stereotypical white-haired doctor with his black bag who still makes house calls, serves as the town sage and dispenses care of all sorts.

This myth has often been perpetuated, but it paints a false narrative of rural healthcare. The reality is being a rural provider is difficult. Working in a rural setting often equates to longer hours with less support. Our country is facing a primary care crisis, which is exacerbated in rural communities — like North Central Washington. By 2034, the U.S. is projected to face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians, 48,000 of which will be in primary care alone, according to a 2021 study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Dr. Susanne Quistgaard

Dr. Susanne Quistgaard