Building Relationships with Patients is Most Rewarding

Building Relationships with Patients is Most Rewarding

Given a projected shortfall of 62,000  to 95,000 physicians by 2025, with a possible third of all physicians retiring within the decade, it’s important to look at satisfaction trends among young doctors (under the age of 40). Nearly 19,200 physicians in over 26 specialties responded to Medscape’s compensation survey. The report explores differences between younger and older physicians, not only in matters related to compensation but also in how satisfied they are with their profession.

Here are some key findings.  

The top overall earners are:

  • Orthopedists $320,000
  • Dermatologist $312,000
  • Anesthesiologist $309,000
  • Cardiology $307,000

Among those top earners the differences in compensation from younger to older physicians  is the greatest with orthopedists ($150,000) followed by plastic surgeons ($140,000) and radiologists ($135,000). The smallest differences in compensation were found in family medicine ($22,000), psychiatry ($31,000), endocrinology ($33,000) and internal medicine ($34,000).

Overall the most satisfied with their careers among younger physicians were dermatologists, followed by emergency medicine and infectious disease doctors.

A larger percentage of younger physicians (54%) feel fairly compensated versus older ones (51%). While older physicians are more likely to spend more time with patients: 44% of those age 40 to 69 spend 17 or more minutes with their patients versus 39% of their younger colleagues.  

Whether they are younger or older and whether they are in primary care or specialties, men still earn more than women, according to the report. Among specialists they make $62,000 less while younger women physicians make $26,000 less than their male counterparts.

Medscape found that about a third of physicians surveyed, both younger (35%) and older (34%), cited relationships with patients as the most rewarding part of their jobs. Meanwhile, in second place, being very good at what they do was cited as the most gratifying aspect of their work.   

In regards to earnings and what part of the country they are practicing in, younger physicians make the smallest salary in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions ($201,000 and $214,000 respectively) and older physicians ($289,000 and $285,000). The highest earners this year among young physicians were reported in South Central ($247,000), Southeast ($246,000) and North Central ($245,000) regions, where the residency salaries were among the lowest, the report suggests that these regions may be offering incentives to keep residents from moving away.

When asked if they would choose medicine again, more than three quarters (76%) of infectious disease and family physicians would, compared to the highest-paid physicians among both groups, orthopedists (49%) and nephrologists and plastic surgeons (47%) would not. These findings suggest, the reports says, that money is not the main draw among younger physicians.

You can view the full report here.