9 out of 10 doctors wouldn’t recommend a career in healthcare

Survey results that a former president of the American Medical Association called “deeply concerning and disheartening” revealed that nine out of 10 doctors wouldn’t recommend healthcare as a profession.

The results come from a 5,000-physician survey from The Doctors Company, a medical liability insurer for doctors.

What’s got doctors so down on their profession? Federal health reform, or Obamacare, apparently.

Sixty percent of respondents said health reform would have a negative impact on patient care, while just 20 percent said it would have a positive impact.


And there’s another not insignificant reason (and it may very well be the real reason) that doctors don’t like health reform: 78 percent say that it’ll have a negative impact on their earnings.

But are the doctors who responded to the survey just a bunch of old, angry conservatives? The conservative part isn’t clear, as respondents weren’t asked about political affiliations. The old part, though, is: 43 percent of respondents were at the age of 61 or older.

Not so coincidentally, 43 percent of respondents said that they’re likely to retire in the next five years due to health reform (the getting older part, of course, has nothing to do with it.)

There also may be a broader trend at play here that would indicate the survey respondents tended to be on the older, more conservative side of the political debate: As a profession, physicians are becoming more liberal, The New York Times reported last year.

“There are no national surveys that track doctors’ political leanings, but as more doctors move from business owner to shift worker, their historic alliance with the Republican Party is weakening,” The Times reported.

In other words, if the survey leaned more heavily on doctors in their 30s and 40s, who are less likely to own their own medical practices, the results would likely be far different.

The broader question, though, is does it matter that many of today’s aging doctors seem bitter about the direction in which medicine is moving and wouldn’t recommend entering the profession?

Probably not. The number of applicants to medical schools hit an all-time high in 2011, with the largest amount since the American Association of Medical Colleges began tracking the number in 1989, the organization said in December.

“This demonstrates without a doubt that medicine remains a very attractive career to undergraduates,” the group’s president said at the time.

[Photo from flickr user nffcnnr]

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