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The Country Doctor Revisited

A Twenty-First Century Reader

Literature & Medicine, Medicine, Series

DescriptionAn anthology that addresses the changing nature of rural medicine in the United States

“These authors courageously document the emotional and literally physical vulnerabilities they experience while delivering care in rural communities. … This book exquisitely illustrates the complexity of ‘dual relationships’ and boundary issues in rural practice.”—Family Medicine

Over the past thirty years, rural health care in the United States has changed dramatically. The stereotypical white-haired doctor with his black bag of instruments and his predominantly white, small-town clientele has imploded: the global age has reached rural America. Independently owned clinics have given way to a massive system of hospitals; new technology now brings specialists right to the patient’s bedside; and an increasingly diverse clientele has sparked the need for doctors and nurses with an equally diverse assortment of skills.

The Country Doctor Revisited is a fascinating collection of essays, poems, and short stories written by rural health care professionals on the experiences of doctors and nurses practicing medicine in rural environments, such as farms, reservations, and migrant camps. The pieces explore the benefits and burdens of new technology, the dilemmas in making ethically sound decisions, and the trials of caring for patients in a broken system. Alternately compelling, thought provoking, and moving, they speak of the diversity of rural health care providers, the range of patients served in rural communities, the variety of settings that comprise the rural United States, and the resources and challenges health care providers and patients face today.

“In this collection we hear the voices of men and women who provide care and facilitate healing in modern rural settings. . . . These storytellers, essayists, and poets live in small towns across the rural United States. They marvel, grumble, cry, grapple and meditate on the beauty and challenges they encounter in their healing practices.”
—from the Introduction

EditorTherese Zink is a family physician who practices in rural Minnesota and is a faculty member of the Rural Physician Associate Program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She has written and published articles in medical journals, contributed to books, served as editor of a special issue on violence in older women, and serves on the editorial board of two medical/social science journals.


Author Therese Zink discusses practicing medicine in small, rural communities, doctor-patient confidentiality, doctor-patient friendships, advancements and issues in rural medicine, recruiting doctors to rural areas, and multiculturalism in rural Minnesota, in her interview by host Jim Du Bois of Access Minnesota during the week of February 26th, 2012. Listen to the interview here:

Zink Interview Pt. 01

Zink Interview Pt. 02