Survey of US physicians indicates they are overwhelmingly satisfied with their career choices

By Al Saint Jacques, MDLinx
Published March 30, 2017

Key Takeaways

The American Medical Association (AMA) released a new survey that explored the experiences, perceptions, and challenges that physicians encounter in this rapidly changing American health care environment. The survey involved 1,200 physicians, residents, and medical students who were asked when they realized they would become physicians, who encouraged them down that path, what challenges they face professionally, and whether they are satisfied with their career choice.

Nine out of 10 physicians indicated that they were satisfied with their career choice, despite challenges common to each career stage, according to the survey. Three quarters of medical students, residents, and physicians said that helping people is a top motivator for pursuing their career and 61% of all respondents said they would encourage others to enter the field of medicine. Personal experiences such as being a patient, a volunteer, and with family members played a role, across career stages, in realizing one’s calling to practice medicine. Additionally, 73% of survey respondents indicated that knew before they reached the age of 20 that they wanted to be physicians, and nearly a third knew before becoming a teenager.

“Physicians may be discouraged at times, but almost every single one of us remains confident in our decision to enter medicine and continues to be driven by our desire to help our patients,” stated Andrew W. Gurman, MD, AMA president. “As an organization, the AMA is constantly striving to deliver resources that empower physicians to maximize time with their patients and help them succeed at every stage of their medical lives. Understanding the challenges physicians face, as well as their motivations for continuing on, is critical to fulfilling that mission.”

Conducted in February 2017, The AMA survey, which was conducted in February 2017, found administrative burden, stress, and lack of time were among the top three challenges of respondents. However, among residents, a larger proportion indicated that long hours and their on-call schedules were among their top challenges.

These survey findings are released as the AMA launches a comprehensive brand initiative that strives to demonstrate to physicians, residents, and medical students the many ways that the AMA listens, supports, and empowers them to succeed throughout their unique journeys with timely and relevant resources. The brand initiative features individual stories such as:

  • Margo Roemeling, MD Candidate 2018, who overcame a difficult upbringing to help patients in rural communities;
  • Shira Einstein, MD Candidate 2018, who conquered cancer as a teenager to pursue pediatrics;
  • Scott Yang, MD, Pediatrics, Orthopaedic Surgery, whose childhood friend living with cerebral palsy inspired his career choice;
  • Eli Zimmerman, MD, Neurologist, a neurologist who is committed to helping stroke victims.

The brand initiative will reach physicians through print, digital, and social media platforms. It is intended to recognize and celebrate the core reasons that physicians choose the profession while also highlighting the broad array of initiatives and resources the AMA provides in support of physicians.

Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter