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Why Are Physicians Leaving Practices or Contemplating Quitting?

Chander Mishra, MD writes about the various factors that push doctors today to resign from medicine.

June 21, 2022

Doctors are resigning from medicine in order to spend more time with their families and care for their children. Doctors are required to work such long hours that they cannot always afford to care for their children. They believe that their contributions are undervalued. Many employees claim that their bosses overwork them. Many doctors have claimed that their pay is insufficient and that they should be paid more. Doctors are very good at what they do, adding a stream of passive income can free time and help them connect more to the practice by adjusting the time. Decrease burn out and insulate against other stressors.

 

According to surveys, an increasing number of dissatisfied doctors are leaving or planning to leave their practices.

According to the nonprofit Physicians Foundation, approximately 8% of doctors—representing nearly 16,000 practices shut down in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 on business.

Doctors have experienced stress, financial loss, and other issues as a result of the epidemic, but physician unhappiness with the profession has been an issue for years.

According to a 2018 survey, 54% of respondents planned to retire within the following five years (including 30% of those under 50).

Why? What are the main reasons why so many doctors wish to retire?

 

According to a 2018 survey, 54% of respondents (doctors) planned to retire within the following five years (including 30% of those under 50). Click To Tweet

 

Insufficient Income

Many doctors have lost money as a result of the pandemic.

In 2020, 72% of respondents expect a fall in income, with 41% expecting a decrease of 26% or more in patient volume.

In 2021, most doctors expect to be paid less.

Even before the pandemic, some doctors, particularly those in less lucrative specialties or low-paying residencies, battled to pay student loan debt (average: $241,600, with 25% exceeding $300,000) and malpractice premiums (as much as $100,000 to $200,000 annually).

In Medscape’s 2021 study, 32% of physicians mentioned insufficient salary as a cause of burnout.

 

Even before the pandemic, some doctors, particularly those in less lucrative specialties or low-paying residencies, battled to pay student loan debt (average: $241,600, with 25% exceeding $300,000) and malpractice premiums (as much as… Click To Tweet

 

Long Hours and Lack of Family Time

The average doctor works 53.4 hours per week and may be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or on weekends.

According to a University of Michigan poll, approximately 40% of female doctors chose to work part-time or quit a total of six years after completing medical school due to family difficulties. (Only about 5% of male doctors do the same.)

Work-life balance was mentioned as a top worry by 42% of female doctors and 48% of male doctors in Medscape’s 2021 physician burnout study, while “too many work hours” was cited by 37% of physicians overall.

Female doctors were also more concerned about parenthood/work issues (17%) than male doctors (6% ).

 

Why Are Physicians Leaving Practices or Contemplating Quitting? Click To Tweet

 

Dealing With EHRs

In recent years, electronic health records (EHRs) have been the misery of many doctors, particularly older professionals, with study after survey identifying them as difficult to use and interfering with doctor-patient interaction.

 

The average doctor works 53.4 hours per week and may be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or on weekends.

 

This is especially true if a doctor doesn’t have a scribe and must enter data into a computer instead of keeping eye contact during office visits.

According to one study, doctors spend two hours on EHR record-keeping for every hour spent with patients in clinical contact. Burnout has been associated with EHR dissatisfaction, and burnout can cause doctors to leave clinical practice or exit medicine entirely.

 

Too Much Bureaucracy

Doctors believe that EHRs aren’t the only thing that takes them away from their patients.

In Medscape’s 2021 study, the most common cause of physician burnout was “too many bureaucratic chores,” which was cited by 58% of doctors.

According to a 2016 study, physicians spend approximately 25% of their time on nonclinical paperwork.

Among other administrative tasks, they must interact with insurance firms, document compliance with numerous government rules, and track quality data.

Doctors who go into medicine to work with patients on a daily basis may find such tasks tedious and irritating.

 

Burnout and COVID-19 stress

The Physicians Foundation surveyed 60% of doctors this spring and found that they are burned out, up from 40% in pre-pandemic 2018.

Burnout is considerably more prevalent among female doctors (68%, compared to 57% for men). Critical care and infectious disease are now among the most burned-out specialties, according to a Medscape 2021 poll.

Lack of personal protective equipment, challenging working circumstances, long hours, and emotional anguish from witnessing patients die are all COVID-19-related stresses.

About 4% of doctors claimed they quit their practices owing to burnout, 1% said they attempted suicide, and 13% stated they felt suicidal.

However, even before COVID, 79 % said they were burned out.

 

About 4% of doctors claimed they quit their practices owing to burnout, 1% said they attempted suicide, and 13% stated they felt suicidal. However, even before COVID, 79 % said they were burned out. Click To Tweet

 

Lack Of Independence

The bulk of doctors nowadays are no longer self-employed.

In a study conducted by the American Medical Association in fall 2020, 50.2 % of 3,500 physicians reported they were employed, up from 47.4 % in 2018. (and compared to 72% in private practice in 1988).

Doctors are increasingly working for larger group practices, with many of them now owned by profit-driven private equity groups.

Doctors may be given greater caseloads than they believe is appropriate, and managers focused on the bottom line may tell them how to treat patients, according to opponents.

Rather than lowering the quality of care, some doctors may choose to retire.

 

Rather than lowering the quality of care, some doctors may choose to retire. Click To Tweet

 

Doctors Feeling Ignored

Patients are treating doctors as if they are being ignored and disrespected.

Doctors already work long hours, and many patients believe they don’t have enough time to thoroughly describe their illnesses to their physicians.

Patients can be impolite, demanding, and disrespectful, according to doctors.

 

Conclusion

Doctors are resigning from medicine in order to spend more time with their families and care for their children.

Doctors are required to work so long hours that they cannot always afford to care for their children.

They believe that their contributions are undervalued.

Many employees claim that their bosses overwork them.

Many doctors have claimed that their pay is insufficient and that they should be paid more. 

Doctors are very good at what they do. Adding a stream of passive income can free time and help them connect more to the practice by adjusting the time.

Decrease burn out and insulate against other stressors.

Chander Misra, MD

Chander Mishra, MD

“Life is about living in the moment, there lies the true potential to create anything.”

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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