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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, June 22, 2009

Primary Care Physician Shortage

According to an article in the Washington Post, the increasing shortage of primary care physicians is due to lower salaries for these physicians, the desire for more flexible schedules, lower prestige, and doctors' desire for greater control over their lifestyle. Have these issues affected the career path of the physician in your family? What do you think it would take to attract more young physicians to primary care?

9 comments:

Melisa said...

What a great question! I can't wait to hear what people have to say about it! Can I post a link on the Lives of Doctor Wives blog?

jziegleramaa said...

Yes, Melissa, please do.

Julie said...

I think the more we connect one another as members of the community of medicine the better and stronger we will be!

Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

My husband's opinion is that family medicine doctors are undercompensated and are bogged down in paperwork. Although family medicine was not one of his top choices, I can say that if it was these two things would have caused him to lean toward another specialty.

Kim said...

My husband was definitely steered away from family medicine b/c of some of these reasons. We've had this discussion b4 between the two of us and think that if family medicine physicians were offered loan forgiveness or some sort of loan repayment benefit it would be more inticing a field to go into.

--Leann-- said...

My husband ruled out being a PCP for a variety of reasons: A. He is not interested in long-term management of patients. B. Annual physicals are not his cup of tea either. C. The hours (he was attracted to the idea of shift work).


Oddly enough, with the way people use his ER, you'd think he WAS a PCP.

Melisa said...

My husband was interested in primary care his first 2 yrs of med school. But, once he got in an operating room, he knew that was where he wanted to be. I don't think the factors you mentioned are what steered him to surgery, but I'm sure they didn't draw him back to primary care either.

Desiree said...

Great question! My husband just did a volunteer rotation in primary care after completing MSI, and he said it's not for him... pretty much for the reasons listed above... he wants to go "deeper" into medicine.

Tasha said...

My husband has always wanted to pursue rural family medicine and will be beginning rotations in a couple of days. Here are some of the shortfalls of Primary Care: 1. Hours (particularly rural), which are getting worse as there are less PCPs to share call. Med school is hard enough for a family, who wants to prolong indefinitely? 2. Wages: they make a lot compared to non medical professions, but when you're graduating with $300,000 in debt, making a little over 100K a year is not appealing. If we didn't have debt, there wouldn't be a problem because we could live comfortably on a PCP salary. Plus some states which offer loan repayment still consider it taxable income 3. Interest: the reason my hubby wants to do rural is because there are more opportunities for procedures. Most PCPs feel like they only see colds, flus, and physicals every day. Pretty Boring 4. Battles: I think there is a lot more paperwork, dictation, and there's the insurance battles that have to be fought in order for the PCP to recommend a certain procedure and get it approved by the insurance company [Plus there's all of the money lost by Medicare and Medicaid patients because the government keeps cutting the budget.] 5. Prestige: my hubby cares about this less, but it's hard to feel like you're inferior to others in the same profession because of a personal choice/preference

I honestly hope he changes his mind during rotations because I don't want to live in a small town, but I know he won't be happy doing what an urbsn PCP does. If the way PCPs are compensated doesn't change soon, they'll be an endangered profession