Doctors' Pay Growth Lags Behind Other Health Care Professionals

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association takes a look at how physicians are faring financially, while a second study, this one appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, examines how they are doing emotionally.

Reuters: Salary Growth Lagging For Primary Care Doctors
Despite rising spending on health care in the United States, primary care doctors don't seem to be reaping the rewards on their paychecks, a new study suggests. The findings could have implications for what some predictions say will be a primary care shortage in some parts of the country in the coming years (Pittman, 11/27).

Medpage Today: Docs' Pay Grows Slower Than Nurses' Salaries
Physicians' wages grew less than other health care professionals over a 15-year period, but still remain high, researchers found. Surveys of various workers in health care-related fields from 1987 to 2010 showed that, compared with measures from 1987 to 1990, physicians' salaries increased an average 9.6 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to Seth Seabury, PhD, of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues. During that same period, professionals from other fields -- including dentists, pharmacists, and registered nurses -- saw their salaries increase by an average 44 percent, they wrote in a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association online (Petrochko, 11/27).

Medscape: Why Are MDs Burning Out In Record Numbers?
Physicians who feel a sense of burnout, take heart -- you're not alone. A recent study of 7288 doctors published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that nearly one half -- 46 percent -- reported at least 1 symptom of burnout, as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory. According to physician Paul Griner, MD, author of The Power of Patient Stories: Learning Moments in Medicine, the figure is especially alarming considering that burnout can lead to inadequate assessment of patients and misdiagnoses. Further, a recent study published in General Hospital Psychiatry suggested that job stress, coupled with inadequate treatment for mental illness, may account for the higher than average suicide rate among US physicians (Melville, 11/27).

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