Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are you happy being a doctor?

Are you happy with your job?

It’s one of the questions we posed to physicians in a recent survey in which we tried to get a handle on just who is the modern American physician. It turns out, for the most part, you are pretty content — even considering the headaches of long hours and declining reimbursements, for starters.
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We found that more than 80 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement that they like being a physician. Nearly half of you reported being “happier and better adjusted than most people.” When asked to rate happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, 78 percent of you ranked yourselves at seven or above.

Similarly, a survey by the think tank Center for Studying Health System Change, found that 39 percent of docs were “very satisfied” with their careers and 43 percent said “somewhat satisfied.” Hey that’s not so bad given the current state of affairs.

To be clear, frustrations abound. I am working on a story for the November issue based on our annual Physician Compensation Survey. Perhaps not surprisingly, many physicians are struggling with flat or declining practice income and looking for ways to bring in more money. (More on that soon.)

But it seems that the overall satisfaction level often gets overshadowed as the country slogs through the healthcare reform debate, and physicians scramble to keep up with new regulations, all while trying to keep the practice humming. It can be easy to forget why you got into medicine in the first place. Yet, when asked to reflect, you all are a fairly happy bunch.

A wealth of fascinating information emerged from our Great American Physician survey. Read the full story on the survey, and check out October’s The List column where we compiled 10 things doctors want to tell their families. (One example of a statement to a spouse: “I will be late today. I have to finish some paperwork.”)

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