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Medscape/WebMD Poll: How Much Are Doctors Paid?

Big Bucks Go to Orthopaedic Surgeons, Radiologists; Primary-Care Doctors Trail

Would Doctors Do It Again?

Perhaps the most interesting question in the Medscape Physician Compensation Survey is whether, given the chance to do it all over again, they would choose to become doctors.

Instead of a career in medicine, one doctor would have switched to a job as "an assassin -- of insurance company executives." Another would have been a Zamboni driver.

But an overwhelming 69% of doctors said they would once again choose a medical career. However, 12% said they definitely would not. Among the top alternative career choices are business, law, and education.

While 61% of doctors said they'd choose the same specialty, 21% would not. And only half of doctors would choose to work in the same practice setting.

Some specialists are more satisfied than others:

  • 80% of dermatologists are satisfied with their careers, and 93% would choose the same specialty again.
  • 72% of radiologists are satisfied with their careers, and 82% would choose the same specialty again.
  • 70% of oncologists are satisfied with their careers, and 79% would choose the same specialty again.

And some are less satisfied than are others:

  • 54% of primary care doctors are satisfied with their careers, and only 43% would choose the same specialty again.
  • 57% of pulmonologists are satisfied with their careers, and only 52% would choose the same specialty again.
  • 57% of obstetricians/gynecologists are satisfied with their careers, and only 53%% would choose the same specialty again.
  • 57% of nephrologists are satisfied with their careers, and only 55% would choose the same specialty again.

The Medscape Physician Compensation Survey was fielded to 455,000 U.S. doctors. Responses came between Feb. 2, 2011, and March 30, 2011, from 15,794 doctors in 22 specialty areas.

The fields most represented by survey respondents were primary care (23%), pediatrics (8%), psychiatry (8%), emergency medicine (6%), obstetrics/gynecology (6%), and surgery (6%).

See the full survey results on Medscape.

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