This is part 1 of a 4 part series.
Like elite military forces, physicians are trained to do what most of us cannot. People drawn to careers in medicine have unique personality traits and aptitudes that include high intelligence, compassion, inquisitiveness, and sensitivity to others. But, they are also extremely competitive, driven, and sometimes even obsessive-compulsive. It is this relentless drive for perfection that hones a physician’s craft. They may not always be likable, but they know how to make life and death decisions independently, often instantaneously, and under immense pressure.
But, many physicians are extraordinarily unhappy.
Nine out of ten doctors discourage others from joining the profession. More than 300 commit suicide each year –making them twice as likely as the general population. A nationwide survey of physicians who practice medicine full time, found 5 in 10 have considered quitting medicine. This is cumulating to a 90,000-doctor shortage in the United States by 2025.
These findings are difficult to accept when you look at the time and cost associated with becoming a physician. It takes 20 years of full-time work to become a practicing medical doctor. Only 20% of applicants are accepted to medical school and from them 10% will not graduate. There are no academic, physical, or mental concessions to excellence. Only the best of the best can be called a physician.
They have to want it very badly. Yet, these same highly motivated physicians are questioning if it is worth it. So why?
Physicians have become the collateral damage of a flawed system. They are being held increasingly accountable for the rising nationwide costs of medical care. Through well-meaning ideology-driven intensity, rather than fact-based analysis, physicians have become political victims of:
1) Government regulations that do not improve patient care
2) Disincentives to physician autonomy, innovation, and necessary risk-taking
3) Devaluation of physician work forcing them out of business
About Stephanie Cecchini:
Stephanie is the Vice President of Medical coding services at Aviacode. Executive level revenue cycle management consultant. Stephanie has a notable variety of experience within the healthcare IT industry. CPC, CEMC, CHISP AHIMA Approved ICD-10 Trainer.
 Lee Lipsenthal, MD The Physician Personality: Confronting Our Perfectionism and Social Isolation Tuesday, 01 December 2009  March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Geneia Survey Finds 84% of Physicians Believe Quality Patient Time May Be Gone  U.S. faces 90,000 doctor shortage by 2025, medical school association warns, The Washington Post 3/5/2015