I have relatives who work in clinical care roles at hospitals and doctors offices (RT, PA, and CRNA)
Important questions to answer:
- Whether the role you applied for is clinical - will you will be directly caring for patients?
If your role is clinical, a max commuting distance seems reasonable and many medical residencies in the USA require trainees to live no more than X miles from clinic / hospital. There are two main reasons for such requirement:
A delay caused by excessive commuting distance could have deadly consequences for patients in distress.
If patients were to have an emergency, they may not be able to wait for their provider to commute in from far away before serious injury, or God forbid , death occurs. Even if a medical professional is trained, many medical procedures are best done with 2+ people such as intubation (wife is RT and such is bread and butter for her) in case things go south.
It's true that doctors will have backup doctors to relieve them , but it's also true that consultations with colleagues on patient management can take place at unexpected times. Sometimes, physical presence is very necessary to provide the patient with proper medical care.
Even with proper training and documentation, medical professionals are not entirely fungible.
Sometimes, one has certain niche skills that only that person performs the best. Without such person being physically there, 100% safety or effectiveness of a medical procedure may not be possible. For example, my brother as a CRNA, has a different anesthesia work style than some of his colleagues, that makes him more effective in caring for specific patients.
- What type of doctors office did you apply to work in?
My brother is a CRNA and has on call responsibilities, providing him with additional income. However a condition of taking on call duties is that he cannot live more than 30 minutes from hospital. He works at a major academic hospital, and when anesthesia emergencies happen, any further commute time is just not safe / reasonable to patient care.
My sister is a PA in a primary care doctor's office and has no restrictions on where she can live as in her role, she is not expected to be reachable on call. Her role in dermatology is purely outpatient based.
Hence to understand where your employer's discomfort with far commute times may be coming from, it's important to first understand the nature / scope of your role and the type of practice you will be working in.