Doctors are miserable. And we all suffer the consequences. Speak candidly with any doctor about the profession and a clear theme emerges.
"American doctors are suffering from a collective malaise," says Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, author of Doctored, The Disillusionment of an American Physician. "We've reached a tipping point," says Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges. "They're feeling powerless and throwing in the towel," says Dr. Tait Shanafelt. "more and more you're witnessing physicians who feel they could have done better if they had done something different," says Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Management. "The frustrations that patients have about not getting enough time with their doctor is mirrored by the frustration their doctors have with not having enough time to spend with their patients," says Christina Lamontagne, vice president of health at NerdWallet.
Oh, and According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median level of medical school debt for the class of 2015 was $183,000. For physicians who pay over the long term with interest, total cost of that debt can be over $400,000. One-third of emergency medicine and family physicians are still paying off school loans.
Doctors are broke, burned out, and losing autonomy over their careers. Yikes, a dangerous recipe for what remains one of the most valuable and noble professions possible.
Physicians' have career envy compared to peers and family in more flexible professions. "The transformation of the field from independence and professionalism to being commoditized and feeling like you're just another worker is disheartening," says Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Management who researches health policy and healthcare leadership. Forman believes that some doctors feel remorse about their job choice because they see their peers in finance and technology or other lines of business, making far more than they do.
A 2016 Mayo study appears to confirm this reality. Doctors' dissatisfaction is not only "pervasive," it "appears to be getting worse" – up an estimated 10% since a similar survey just three years ago, Dr. Tait Shanafelt and his co-authors report. The distress has pushed many doctors to the breaking point: Some are even leaving the profession. "They're feeling powerless and throwing in the towel," Shanafelt says. Physician's career satisfaction with work-life balance is far lower than that of other professionals: only 36% versus 61% .
Doctors suffer from burnout in especially high numbers, according to the study, which was designed to offer a representative snapshot of doctors and the general U.S. working population. Nearly half of U.S. physicians – 49 percent – meet the definition for overall burnout , compared with 28 percent of other U.S. workers.
Physician temporary work shortages and burnout inflict massive costs on all of us. we don't have enough physicians to meet demand if we rely only on traditional brick & mortar healthcare. T he U.S. faces a 90,000 doctor shortage by 2025.
The Tech Driven Healthcare Gig-Economy Bring Back Physician Freedom
Physicians are disheartened by the restrictive traditional job market. Yet, most physicians are completely unaware that thousands of telemedicine and digital health clinical jobs exist.
For doctor's, it's time to ignore the broken system and find the lifestyle, flexibility and financial freedom.