Most MDs love what they do, even with stresses

If any of your high net worth clients are physicians and you've had the opportunity to talk about what their job is like, you know how demanding a profession it can be. Though doctors are well compensated, it doesn't negate the fact that the stresses of the job take a toll, both emotionally and physically. It isn't unusual for surgeons and primary care physicians to work 12-hour days, often consecutively.

Yet despite the burnout that the medical community often feels, the satisfaction they get from doing good makes it all worth it at the end of the day, according to recent poll.

Over 95 percent of respondents in a survey of over 19,000 physicians say their jobs bring them a tremendous sense of satisfaction, based on findings from an annual study conducted by Medscape. Polled doctors were almost unanimous on finding their careers rewarding, even though the bureaucracy, long work days and high expectations of patients and their overseers can make things overwhelming.


Many physicians say the relationships they form with patients make their jobs especially meaningful.Many physicians say the relationships they form with patients make their jobs especially meaningful.

Bonds with patients considered priceless
Part of the reason for doctors' overall contentment, the survey found, traces back to the relationships they have with their patients. Over one-third said the bonds they've formed with patients were one of the most comforting aspects of life as a doctor. Just less than 33 percent cited being good at what they did as fulfilling.

Other gratifying elements to a career in medicine include training up-and-coming physicians, having flexible schedules and interacting with co-workers, respondents mentioned in the poll, only to a smaller extent than the aforementioned.

Michael Smith, M.D., chief medical editor at WebMD, said many practicing physicians don't view being a doctor as a job, but a calling, something that they were born to do.

"Moreover, it's those doctors with lower salaries, like primary care physicians, that are most likely to choose medicine again," Smith explained. "Despite the pressures, doctors remain passionate about patient care."

Family physicians like their jobs most

"3 in 4 family physicians would go into the same practice if they could do it over."

Medicine is one of the more well-compensated professions in the country, with the typical physician earning a six-figured salary, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, at an average of $207,000 - low compared to others - family physicians were found to be the most likely to choose medicine again if they could go back in time. Nearly 75 percent indicated as much in the Medscape poll. Only 45 percent of plastic surgeons said they would choose medicine if they could do it over. The average plastic surgeon earns approximately $355,000 a year, when including bonuses and profit-sharing contributions.

The emotional and financial satisfaction of medicine may explain why it's growing at a swift pace. Over the next decade, employment is expected to increase by 23 percent, according to estimates from the BLS. It's possible that almost 1 million new jobs will be created in the next 10 years.

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