Fewer Doctors Love Their Work

unhappy doctors If you think doctors are smug about the fact that they make a lot of money and have perfect lives, think again. A recent poll found that more than a third (37 percent) of all doctors are unhappy about some aspect of their profession as physicians, and expressed serious concerns that the current state of health care is impeding their ability to provide quality care to their patients.

The poll was taken by Sermo, a large online community for physicians, and they say it was the most popular discussion poll in the web site's five-year history. Physicians from all 50 states and representing more than 50 medical specialties offered their insights and opinions to this fundamental question.

Even respondents who indicated that they were in fact happy as physicians agreed that there are unique challenges facing physicians in America today, including:

  • Not being able to spend enough time with patients in the wake of mass-production medicine
  • The lack of solidarity on the part of physicians to return the focus of medicine to the patient
  • Increasing economic pressures from costly malpractice insurance
  • Insurance companies interfering with doctor-to-patient care
  • The overwhelming burden of stringent rules and regulations from government agencies who lack insight into the medical profession

Many respondents see the declining number of physicians as a sign that the entire profession in America is in trouble. According to a Texas rheumatologist, "We will continue to see a massive exodus on the part of good practicing physicians ... [and] our young and brightest will choose to do something else."

Still, the majority of those physicians polled felt that their profession is worth the pain. A physician specializing in neurology summarized the tone of the poll results in one succinct comment: "No matter what you answer, medicine is the most noble career and profession. It makes you [the physician) and the patients better people."

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