For family physician Richard Budensiek, it's the wide availability of places to practice in Colorado.
For general and trauma surgeon K. John Hartman of Iowa and radiologist Connie Innis of Washington state, it is the collegiality among their medical peers.
Andrew Chung, a cardiologist from Georgia, likes the small-town friendliness that prompts complete strangers to ask, "How are you?"
Proximity to her beloved Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots is part of the allure for Massachusetts-based pathologist Deborah August.
And for surgical oncologist Paul Dale, it's the "show me attitude" of the great people of Missouri, the "Show Me State."
The reasons physicians like the state where they practice medicine vary, but they do have a common theme: an ideal lifestyle with an ideal patient base. They also have common dislikes in the form of anything that gets in the way of the patient-physician relationship: political, legal, or any other kind of interference.
Each year, we present our Best States to Practice rankings based on metrics such as cost of living, physician density, and disciplinary measures. We tell you the top places to practice based on our analysis, as well as the places you may want to avoid if you can. At PhysiciansPractice.com, we present data on each state, offer you an interactive map to look at each state, and we've even developed a tool for you to help find the most physician-friendly climate by weighing the various categories based on your desired settings.
This year, we decided not just to present the "best" and the "worst," but to highlight the pros and cons of other states through the eyes of you: the physician. On our website, you'll find profiles of physicians in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, sharing what they love and what they'd change about their practice location and their thoughts on medicine in general.
It's great to read and hear stories of physicians who now practice where they grew up or learn what circumstances placed them where they are today. Plus, despite the location, it's likely you share the same joys and frustrations as your peers.
If you live in one of our featured states, feel free to tell us what you like about where you practice, what you don't like, and what you'd tell physicians considering setting up shop as your neighbor. And feel free to comment on your peers' analysis of their state as well. All opinions are welcome.
As physicians, you know all too well, in healthcare, that data is great, but it is no substitute for real stories based on first-person perspective. Let's hear yours.
Keith L. Martin is the executive editor of Physicians Practice. What do you like / dislike about where you practice? Tell us at [email protected]. Unless you say otherwise, we'll assume that we're free to publish your comments in upcoming issues of Physicians Practice, in print and online.
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Physicians Practice.