Imagine getting ill and having to drive several hours to see your doctor. It's a reality that many small town people face and it's one thing that U.S. Senator John Cornyn is determined to change. Senator Cornyn along with area health officials discussed a variety of issues on Saturday morning. The hot topic, attracting more nurses and doctors to rural communities.
"Big money and big cities aren't all they're cracked up to be," says Senator Cornyn.
It's where a majority of students are headed after graduation though, but Senator Cornyn believes tapping into a rural communities resources could be the key.
"Number one is finding people who already live in some of those rural communities and encouraging them to get involved in nursing. Come to Texas Tech and get their education," says Senator Cornyn.
|get more>> Web Enhanced|
Contact a Texas Lawmaker
Feel the need to contact an area lawmaker? Here are the address and phone numbers to send them your input.
The next step would of course be return to the community they grew up in. Already more than 20 percent of practicing physicians in West Texas are either graduates of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center or one of its residence programs. Some current Tech students have one thing to say to that statistic - incentives. Meet Chad Greenfield, a pre med student at Tech who was born and raised in Monahans, a rural community of about 6,000. Greenfield says if offered the right incentives moving back home would be considered.
"I think if they were going to pay for medical school you can't ask for really much more than that," says Greenfield.
For Marissa Martinez a nursing student at Tech. The big city has always been more appealing.
"I've always wanted to go to a bigger city just because Lubbock is the biggest city that I've ever lived in," says Martinez.
Still Martinez says she would consider small town life under one circumstance.
"I would definitely consider if I could get my education paid for. Then I would consider taking a couple of years out of my life and living in a small town," says Martinez.
Although it's already offered in some communities, Senator Cornyn hopes to make this practice along with other incentives more widespread.