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Doctors are unhappy with career choice as salaries fall

A study of doctors and medical professionals in America has revealed that many are unhappy with their chosen career. The Physician Compensation Survey ...

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|Apr 30|magazine8 min read

A study of doctors and medical professionals in America has revealed that many are unhappy with their chosen career.

The Physician Compensation Survey Report: 2012 also revealed that doctors’ salaries were likely to fall again this year, after doing so in 2011.

In total, 24,000 doctors from 25 different specialities of medicine were questioned as part of Medscape’s online survey.

Out of the thousands of participants, only 54 percent said they would choose to pursue a career in medicine again, compared to 69 percent in 2011.

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It was also discovered that many doctors are unhappy with their chosen speciality of medicine.

Just 41 percent said if they had the chance, they would opt for the same speciality again, meaning 59 percent would pick something different.

To add to that, just 25 percent of doctors said they would choose to work in the same practice setting as they are currently. Last year this figure stood at 50 percent.

 In addition to the dissatisfaction with their careers, the Medscape survey also found that doctors’ are expecting their salaries to fall again this year.

Many of the study’s participants said they are worried that changes to the healthcare system in the US will see their annual wage decrease.

Radiologists and orthopaedic surgeons were found to be the highest paid doctors with an average wage of $315,000.

However, during 2011 both sets saw their pay reduced by 10 percent.

The largest salary reduction was in the general surgeons group, where annual pay rates fell by 12 percent.

Encouragingly the survey did pick up on some increases in pay. The salary of paediatricians increased by five percent and the pay packets of ophthalmologists rose by nine percent.

But despite their sizeable rates of pay only 11 percent of doctors said they considered themselves to be rich. It is thought the other 89 percent are worrying about debts and high levels of expenses.

Here is a breakdown of the highest and lowest earners in the medical profession: 

Highest earners:

  • Radiologists: $315,000
  • Orthopedic surgeons: $315,000
  • Cardiologists: $314,000
  • Anesthesiologists: $309,000
  • Urologists: $309,000

Lowest earners:

  • Pediatricians: $156,000
  • Family medicine doctors: $158,000
  • Internal medicine doctors: $165,000
  • Diabeticians/endocrinologists: $168,000
  • Psychiatrists: $170,000

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