Blog | Monday, October 10, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Although heavily recruited, 1 in 4 med students want another career by graduation

Sometimes having no end of job prospects, more than one in four new doctors regret going into medicine by their graduation, according to a recruitment firm survey.

Recruiters Merritt, Hawkins asked new doctors if they would study medicine if they had it all to do over again, and 28% said they would select another field, up from 18% in a similar survey in 2008.

Still, the newly minted physicians have plenty to do while they mull other options. About 78% of newly minted physicians received at least 50 job solicitations during their training, and 47% received 100 or more contacts from recruiters.

Despite the heavy rotation of recruiters, residents ranked "personal networking" as the most useful method for learning about medical jobs, followed by "residency programs," "online job boards," and only then "physician recruiters."

Merritt, Hawkins' 2011 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents was conducted by sending e-mails to about 10,000 final year residents and fellows in a wide range of specialties in May of 2011. A total of 302 responses were received. Respondents were 30% primary care and 70% specialty care.

According to the recruitment firm, a national physician shortage is responsible for the large number of job solicitations directed at new doctors. The number of new physicians being trained in the United States has remained flat for 20 years, while the need for more doctors continues to increase.

In the same survey, 94% would prefer to practice in communities of 50,000 people or more, while 6% would prefer to practice in communities of 50,000 or less. Only 4% of doctors surveyed said they would prefer to practice in communities of 25,000 people or less.

--Only 1% preferred solo practice, while 32% would prefer to be employed by a hospital, up from 22% in 2008.
--48% of residents said they are unprepared to handle the business side of medicine, and 9% said they are very prepared for it. 56% said they received no formal instruction during their medical training about contracts, compensation and reimbursement.
--"Geographic location," "personal time" and "lifestyle" are the most important considerations when new doctors evaluate a medical practice opportunity, and "availability of free time" is their greatest concern. "Dealing with patients" was the least of their concerns.
--72% expect to make $176,000 or more in their first practice.