AMA: 90% of physicians satisfied with career choice

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Despite changes in the healthcare field and multiple surveys finding an increase in physician burnout, almost all doctors say they’re satisfied with their choice to become physicians, according to a new survey from the American Medical Association.

The AMA said it collected responses from 1,200 physicians, residents, and medical students. Around 90 percent said they’re satisfied with their career choice. A much lower number, 61 percent, said they would encourage others to make their careers in medicine.

“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,” AMA president Andrew Gurman said in a press release. “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.”

A larger physician survey conducted by the Physicians Foundation in 2016 found a far more pessimistic outlook: 80 percent of its 17,000 respondents said they felt overextended or at capacity, 54 percent reported somewhat or very low morale about the profession and almost half said they felt burnt out.

Those issues weren’t absent from the AMA survey. The top three challenges among respondents were those same problems: administrative burden, stress and lack of time. Among residents, the results were slightly different, with a larger proportion indicating long hours and the on-call schedule being among their top challenges.

Among the other interesting findings of the survey, 75 percent of respondents said their primary motivation to enter the field was “helping people.” Many current physicians said they had decided on their career path early on in their lives: 73 percent of respondents knew before they reached the age of 20 that they would become physicians, and nearly a third knew before becoming a teenager.