Doctors are Unhappy

In 1973, fewer than 15 percent of several thousand practicing physicians reported any doubts that they had made the right career choice. In 1981, 48 percent of office-based doctors said they would not recommend the practice of medicine as highly as they would have 10 years earlier. In 2001, 58 percent of about 2,600 physicians questioned said their enthusiasm for medicine had gone down in the previous five years, and 87 percent said the overall morale of physicians had declined during that time. And nearly half of 12,000 physicians questioned recently said they planned to reduce the number of patients they would see in the next three years or stop practicing altogether. Three-quarters said medicine is either no longer rewarding or less rewarding.

Full article on how managed care is making doctors unhappy.

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Brian Williams. says:

    My guess is that doctors are unhappy with the regulations and red tape, rather than practicing medicine.

  2. Ken says:

    I don’t blame doctors for being unhappy.

  3. steve says:

    I think it has more to do with the production pressure in the system. Time is everything. Maximizing ROI does not lead to happiness. It means long and unpredictable hours. The other factors are the big debt load coming out of training (I am recruiting 2 new docs and all candidates have expressed concern over this issue), continued worries about malpractice, worries about lesser trained people taking work and concerns about the future.


  4. Tom H. says:

    However unhappy they are today, I predict they will be more unhappy in the future.

  5. Joe S. says:

    When you think about waht is about to happen, why wouldn’t they be unhappy?

  6. Virginia says:

    I call foul. The article talks about how managed care is making doctors miserable. But, how many other professions have aspects to them that make people unhappy? It’s sort of a given that there are things in all of our lives that we’d rather not deal with.

    I get it. Managed care is a beast. But, I don’t know if it’s fair to lament the misery of doctors when there are plenty of other folks that keep slogging it out in less-respected professions.

  7. Devon Herrick says:

    In 1973 Medicare and Medicaid had only been around for eight years. Fee-for-service was common and Medical school wasn’t as costly as today. Student loans were smaller. Most of the practicing physicians had probably gone into medicine for a love of science. It was a golden age for medicine.

    Fast forward nearly 40 years and student loans are huge; fee-for-service has been replaced by capitated payments. There is all manner of insurance to deal with and Medicare pays rates that are 20% below what private insurers pay. It’s no wonder that doctors practicing today find the environment less friendly.

  8. Erin O. says:

    I have no doubts that doctors are miserable. Over the past year, I’ve talked with many of them. All expressed great worries and a pessamistic outlook about how complicated and stressful their practices will become in the near future.

  9. zeez says:

    Its not about driving Acuras, or chasing $$$$. Its about putting in 12-14 years of gruelling hard work,night shifts, 24 hr weekend shifts, and studying (simultaneously) and ending up being paid for a physical less than a greesy mechanic charges for a check-up on BMW.
    WIth the current trend, in 25 years, you will be applying ground coffee on your haemorrhoids, until your appointment with the only doctor in your city comes in 8 months. Or maybe the nurse with the 4 year degree in draping, inserting canulas and dressing can otherwise recommend Listerine.

    As for your concern on costs, take a second look. Its the insurance executives that are wearing the Rolex watches, and Driving a Mercedes Benz. Someone out there found out that doctors are making a lot of money, and they wanted a cut. It started with lawyers, and ended up with semi-educated (management teams) who all want you to work harder and see more patients while they spend the day texting at Starbucks, just to justify their salary hikes. And when the CEO sends his appreciation email, it is first dedicated to his “invaluable” clan, thanking them for their vision and insight which led to the increase in revenue in that quarter, while the doctor barely has time to check his email.

    It is plain stupid nowadays to study medicine. I would say vanity and shortsightedness are the main motivation nowadays, since a doctor now is not on most girls and boys (wish list) to marry anyways. Who wants a geeky fellow who spends 70 hours a week working only to make less than some sales reps.
    All over the modern world you hear them talking about finding alternative careers (some did, and happier with their lower paycheques). And if there is anyone out here thinking its the doctors that are a burden on the Medicare bill, or on their insurance premiums, think again. Blue cross blue shield scored $14 billion in 2002 in net profit.

    Just try and google (doctors+career change) or even better (doctors+suicide).

    A degree in finance with a 1 year subspecialty (total 54 months) can land you behind a very nice desk in some bank, sitting on an escalator that takes you sooner than you think to the 7 figure bonuses which doctors cannot even dream of. Behind that shiny desk, no one would splatter at you while they preached “its about caring for the patient”.
    No body goes to any school just to save whatsoever. Saving the patients for the pure sake of it is Jesus’s job, not mine!
    As for me, I have cable, internet, rent, and school fees to pay.