Everyone knows that medical school and residency are stressful for young physicians. The AMA Alliance knows that the training years can be just as challenging for the physician's spouse. Our new blog offers resources to provide specific support for partners of physicians in training, as well as assistance in finding an Alliance in your area.

We know that support for the family of medicine is most comforting when it is provided by the family of medicine.

To learn more about the Young Member Connection please view our first blog entry here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Effects of Rising Medical Student Debt

The American Medical Association’s Medical Student Section reviewed data compiled over the last twenty years and found that medical student debt is rising faster than the Consumer Price Index. The group warns that if left uncontrolled, this debt increase will lead to shifts in specialty choice, increased burnout, and a reduction in the number of minorities entering medical school. Learn more.

How is medical school debt affecting your family?


Bea said...

Medical school debt certainly affects my family. My husband toyed with the idea of going general medicine for a while. He ultimately chose his passion, surgery, but I do think pay had a little to do with it. In retrospect it didn't have a lot to do with it (surgery's residency is longer, which means we'll be in debt longer, and if he specializes we'll be in debt even longer; plus it just wasn't where his heart led him), but I won't say it wasn't a factor at all.

Also, because we have so many student loans I cannot be a stay at home mom. We simply cannot afford it, even with a deferral on my husband's loans. We live very frugally but my husband's income still can't cover our expenses. A large part of our expenses includes credit card bills. We had to incur credit card debt because student loans weren't enough to get us through school.

We are no longer using our credit cards, but even necessary things like licensing exam fees and maintenance on the car he drives to the hospital every day adds up to a lot. This means we can't begin paying off our student loans because we're just staying afloat with regular expenses, and we're trying to get out of credit card debt. I'm not sure what we'll do once his 3 year student loan deferral is over.

I definitely think something needs to be done about the high costs of a medical education. Yes, one day my husband may make a decent salary, but once he does, we'll have a mountain of educational debt to get out of and a family to support. His malpractice insurance will be costly as well. If this country is in need of good doctors, we need to make sure they aren't discouraged with things such as a six figure student loan balance that they won't be able to pay off for over a decade.

Jeff and Tasha Blomstedt said...

I think the average (non-medical field) person thinks 'what's the difference between a FP's (Family Physician) wage to a Speciality wage--either way you're rich.' Yet most people don't have any idea how much student loan debt is incurred. My husband is still in his second year of med school, but it's so easy to ask "why go through the stresses of med school to make a FP's wage when I could be making tens of thousands more for a slighter longer residency?" Med school debt is overwhelming. Many that aren't med students wonder why we needed to create Nurse Practitioners and PAs to fill the role of General Practice MDs,but it is because when someone graduates with a quarter of a million dollars in debt, there is significant pressure to pay that off before retirement!

Melisa said...

They put you in such a hard position. You incur hundreds of thousands in debt and then leave you no options to get through residency. It is so ridiculous. Sore subject right now, so I'd better stop. :o)