Nonphysician Clinicians Physician Compensation

Why become a doctor?

On The Health Care Blog (THCB), Dr. Vineet Arora argues that being a doctor is not as attractive as it once was. She writes:

After all, why go into this much debt and spend so much time in training if your prospects are not much better? More recently, the New York Times article points out job prospects for radiology trainees are thinning, meaning the well known “ROAD” (Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology) to success may soon become a road to nowhere if there are no jobs.

There in lies the question, why become a doctor? If the answer is to make money or to have an easy life, then you probably need to look for a new profession. With healthcare payment reform, doctors can expect lower salaries as bundled payment and cost cutting measures are instituted. Moreover, the demand for healthcare will go up as more patients have insurance, leading to higher patient volumes and the expectation to see more patients with the same amount of time.

On the one hand, these fiscal pressures are pushing U.S. physician salaries closer to those of other nations. On the other hand, the cost of medical education in most other countries is much lower. Instead, one of Dr. Arora’s colleagues argues that being a nurse practitioner may be a lower stress, less financially risky alternative.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting findings, Jason. I must add too, anyone who was considering a career as a doctor in the first place because of the monetary prospects is not likely to be a good one anyhow. Hopefully the quality of candidates doesn’t decrease as the salaries do. I’m betting it won’t.

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