Would you do it all over again?

October 22, 2010

Everyone wants the best for his or her kids-and for the younger generation in general. That's why we were interested to find out how the readers responding to this year's Medical Economics Continuing Study would answer when we asked if you would recommend that your child or a friend's child pursue a career in medicine.

Everyone wants the best for his or her kids-and for the younger generation in general. That's why we were interested to find out how the readers responding to this year's Medical Economics' Continuing Study would answer when we asked if you would recommend that your child or a friend's child pursue a career in medicine.

In this issue, we share with you the results of the Medical Economics' 2010 Exclusive Productivity Survey. The September 24 issue focused on earnings, and the November 19 issue will examine malpractice.

Pages and pages of answers were strikingly similar for those of you who would do it all over again: "It's my calling," "I can't imagine doing anything else," and, "I still enjoy what I do."

One primary care physician said: "I love what I do and feel it is the most important specialty in medicine and holds the key to solving the healthcare crisis in the U.S."

That's not to say that many of you aren't sometimes frustrated or discouraged-including those who would choose medicine again and those who would not. We asked what the biggest issues are facing primary care right now (respondents could choose multiple categories), and the most prevalent concerns included: fees and reimbursements/third-party payments (75%), healthcare reform (52%), personal-professional life balance (39%), and the physician shortage (27%). Another 12% cited other concerns that included malpractice/tort reform, compensation, and government regulations.

It seems that challenges and transitions are the new cultural norm in medicine rather than fleeting, finite occurrences that are dealt with and then seen in the rearview mirror. Many of you said that your professional happiness will depend on the perspectives that you take and getting actively involved.

"Medicine right now is going through a major change on many fronts," one reader commented. "Initially I was [unhappy] with the upheaval, but now I am glad that I am part of the change-and hopefully I can help shape medicine into more of the positive profession that I envision it to be."

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