- they want immediate rewards — not exactly the mentality that will fuel a student through years of medical school, a residency and additional training for a specialty.
- “Their attention span, everything, is instant feedback: quick, quick, quick,” Mr. Coleman said. “Apprenticeship, these kids don’t want to do it.”
As fewer people apply to medical school, current doctors are less satisfied and leaving.
- As of 2006, nearly 60 percent of doctors polled by the American College of Physician Executives said they had considered getting out of medicine because of low morale, and nearly 70 percent knew someone who already had.
- Complaints about managed care crimping doctors’ income and authority over medical decisions are nothing new, but the problems are only getting worse, several doctors said.
- One doctor responding to the American College of Physician Executives survey wrote: “I find it necessary about once every month or two to stay in bed for 24 to 48 hours. I do this on short notice when I get the feeling I might punch somebody.”
- Increasing workloads and paperwork might be tolerable if the old feeling of authority were still the same, doctors said. But patients who once might have revered them for their knowledge and skill often arrive at the office armed with a sense of personal expertise, gleaned from a few hours on www.WebMD.com, doctors said, not to mention a disdain for the medical system in general.
Many of my colleagues will not advise their children to become doctors because the hassles of practicing have been far more onerous than the satisfaction of caring for others.
What does this mean to you? Various possibilities. You may need to wait longer as fewer doctors will be available while at the same time the time you spend with them is shorter. Another possibility is that doctors from outside the United States continue to immigrate to make up the shortfall meaning that you will be treated by non-US medical school graduates. Perhaps doctors and their care will be outsourced. You might travel overseas to have expensive surgeries performed, which is already occurring for many Americans.
This is not to say you should feel sorry for doctors. There still is something very sacred and precious about having the privilege of helping a complete stranger. It is one of few professions where an individual, a doctor, can walk in a room and the other person can reveal anything which may not be known by his most intimate companion.
Nevertheless if trends continue, this observation could end up being a true healthcare crisis. You will feel the doctors' pain in a real way.