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Doctors' Incomes Up, Orthopedic Surgeons Lead

Doctors Look Back

Would doctors pick medicine again as a career? Overall, 51% say they would.

Doctors within some specialties were more likely to, with:

  • 66% of internists opting for medicine again
  • 62% of family doctors

Less likely:

  • 37% of dermatologists and orthopedic surgeons

The finding about dermatologists and orthopedic surgeons may seem surprising, as both are among the higher-paid specialties.

The doctors' responses about whether they would pick medicine again didn't always jibe with another survey question about their satisfaction with their medical practice.  For instance, dermatologists reported the highest satisfaction levels, with 59% saying they were satisfied. Only 44% of orthopedic surgeons were satisfied.

Weighing the Rewards of Medicine

What keeps doctors practicing, despite frustrations and paperwork?  Relationships with patients, getting to the root of symptoms, and making an impact in the world, they say.

More than a third of doctors who responded say finding a diagnosis or answer is most rewarding, and 31% cite their relationships with their patients.

Twelve percent cite as most worthwhile the knowledge that they're making the world a better place by practicing medicine.

Only 2% of doctors who responded say nothing is rewarding about their life in medicine.

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