Why Do People Become Doctors?

No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly. – J.R.R. Tolkien

As you likely know, it’s really bad for Doctors right now. Unfortunately, without massive intervention, it’s going to get a lot worse.

You likely know all of the negative statistics, but for context, here they are:

  • Doctors are burning out at unprecedented rates: they are 15 times more likely to burnout than professionals in other fields.
  • A 2015 Medscape survey found that about 50% of doctors are experiencing burn out.
  • Doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession – two times more likely than the US population
  • The average Doctor-Patient interaction is only about 8 minutes
  • Doctors spend more than two-thirds of their time on paperwork as opposed to taking care of patients
  • In a 2016 survey, The Physicians’ Foundation found:
    • 54% of physicians described their morale as somewhat or very negative
    • 63% are pessimistic about the future of medicine
    • 49% would NOT recommend medicine as a career choice for their children
    • 80% are overextended or are at capacity, with no additional time to see patients
    • 47% plan to accelerate their retirement
    • 48% of doctors plan to cut-back on hours, retire, take a non-clinical job, switch to “concierge” medicine, or take other steps limiting patient access to their practices
    • Only 14% of physicians report that they have the time they need to provide the highest standards of care

In the midst of all of this, many current and next generation doctors are rejecting the 20th Century out-dated model of Medicine that is harming so many of them and their colleagues. Doctors are seeking to create a work-life-mental-spiritual balance. It starts by figuring out why they have become doctors in the first place.

People become doctors for some combination of 3 main reasons:

  1. Prestige
  2. The Money
  3. To Help People

However, all three of the reasons have continued to lose their luster over the last couple of decades. And, as the statistics show above, it’s not getting any better:

  1. The prestige. While not completely gone, the prestige factor continues to degrade. Why do doctors continue to accept being called “providers” by insurance companies and hospital executives? (After all, the word physician actually means “one who is skilled in the art of healing” not one who is skilled in the art of providing.)
  2. The money. Most doctors in the US earn good salaries compared with other careers. However, most “providers” will tell you that their incomes are being squeezed and their responsibilities are increasing. Therefore, their real income is decreasing, especially when you factor in the amount of patients they must see on a daily basis, just to keep their income where it was the year before. And it continues to get worse.
  3. To help people. Sure, doctors still provide a service that numbs the pain or provides surgery, but at less than 8 minutes per visit, how well does the doctor really know their patient?

Here is a list of what physicians find MOST satisfying about practicing medicine:

    • Patient Relationships
    • Intellectual stimulation
    • Interaction with colleagues
    • Social/Community Impact
    • Financial Rewards
    • Prestige of Medicine

It’s no wonder why so many Doctors are unhappy, frustrated, burned out, and angry (to name just a few).

Ultimately, patients desire two main things from their physicians: time and advice.

And, what may seem counterintuitive, physicians desire the same thing. In fact, almost 74% of physicians described “patient relationships” as the most satisfying aspect of their medical practice.

Doctors are starting to wake up and are considering taking the Red Pill.

Doctors are starting to realize that there is structural damage to the profession and calling they know and love. However, it’s impossible to cure structural defects.

The system is going to correct itself by collapsing.

Or you can do something about it before the collapse.

If you’re at the point where you see the system’s collapse coming – or more importantly, yours – click here to see what options the Impact Physician platform can offer you.

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