“How do I compare to other residents and new physicians?” is probably the question we’re asked most often at Adventures in Medicine. Many residents feel “in the dark” when it comes to knowing how they stack up against their peers. This is especially true when it comes to physician employment, physician compensation and work-life balance expectations.

Knowing where you stand among your peers doesn’t just give you a sense of comfort — it helps you make better decisions and understand the value you bring to your employer.

Merritt Hawkins just released its 2011 Survey of Final Year Residents, and Rachel Fields at Becker’s Hospital Review compiled a list of some of the most surprising new data from the survey.

We’re surprised (and not so surprised) at some of the opinions and preferences of today’s new physicians. Want to see where you stand? Keep reading for our take on the data, or view the original Becker’s Hospital Review article here.

1. Physician Employment: Where Today’s Physicians Want to Practice

“32 percent of residents said they would prefer to be employed in a hospital than any other setting,” while “only 1 percent of residents said they would prefer a solo setting as their first practice.”

Frankly, we’re not surprised about this one (but we are wondering where the other 67 percent of physicians would prefer to practice). The healthcare reform impact on physicians is tremendous, making employment within a hospital a much more viable option than solo practice.

2. Physician Work-Life Balance: The Biggest Consideration

It’s no secret that today’s physicians are more concerned about work-life balance than generations past. But for many, it’s the biggest consideration of all:

“Residents identified geographic location, personal time and lifestyle as their most important considerations when evaluating a medical practice opportunity.”

Today’s physicians are taking their values seriously — are you? For a more in-depth look at the importance of physician work-life balance, visit the Career Priorities Stage in the Adventures in Medicine Online Resource Library.

3. Where It’s At: Physician Employment in Metro vs. Rural Areas

According to the Merritt Hawkins survey as quoted in Becker’s Hospital Review, “The majority of residents (94 percent) would prefer to practice in communities of 50,000 people or more,” while “only 9 percent of residents said they wanted to practice in communities of 50,000 or less.”

While proximity to metro areas is certainly appealing, we’re advocates of acknowledging the advantages of rural practice. Even if you think it’s not right for you, entertaining the idea is worth your time — you never know. It’s also helpful to understand how physician compensation relates to geographic location.

4. The Guessing Game: Physician Employment and the Business Side of Medicine

The last statistic we’re highlighting on today’s list always comes as a surprise to us, because it ties in with part of our mission — making physician education for the business side of medicine more accessible.

Unfortunately, “56 percent of residents said they received no formal instruction during medical training around medical business issues such as contracts, compensation arrangements and reimbursement methods.”

While that number is promising — that means 44 percent of residents did receive some kind of formal training — we still think that number is too low. We’re doing our part to make physician education for the business side of medicine more widespread, but as a whole, we still have a long way to go.

What physician employment trends are you most (or least) surprised by? 


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Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Guthrie Clinic supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Guthrie Clinic is making practice purposeful.