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One in three physicians plans to quit
8/16/2012
 
If employees are an organization’s most precious resource, as the line goes, then hospitals are in for a tough time. Nearly 33% of physicians say they plan to quit within 10 years, and nearly 25% of nurses say they will move on when the economy improves.

In 2012 alone, 16% of physicians are going part-time, retiring, or leaving medicine or considering retiring or leaving medicine in 2012, according to the survey conducted in April 2012 by Jackson Healthcare, one of the nation's largest healthcare staffing companies.

"Physicians are retiring in large numbers just as baby boomers are starting to turn 65," said Richard L. Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. "That creates a real healthcare access problem. Many are demoralized and weighing their options. For doctors, there is little reward in this era of high costs, high regulation," he added.

The primary reason doctors cite are economic and political: medical malpractice and overhead costs closely followed by not wanting to practice medicine in the era of health reform. Nearly half cited economic factors for retiring or leaving medicine in 2012, while others cited health reform.

Younger doctors also said they were considering leaving medicine this year. Of those who said they would leave the practice or are strongly considering so by the end of 2012, 55% were under the age of 55. Those doctors also reported that the cost of running a practice was too high and that they didn't want to practice medicine in the era of health reform.

Specialists showing the greatest propensity to leave the profession in the next decade, according to the survey, were:
  • Oncologists and hematologists (57%)

  • Otolaryngologists (49%)

  • General Surgeons (49%)

  • Cardiologists (45%)

  • Urologists (42%)
Although several surveys have documented pervasive physician burnout and widespread dissatisfaction, there is no shortage of young people eager to become physicians. First-time applicants to medical school reached an all-time high in 2011, increasing by 2.6% over last year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Total applicants rose by 2.8%, with gains across most major racial and ethnic groups for a second year in a row.

Last year, AMN Healthcare Services reported that nearly 25% of nurses responding to a survey said they will seek a new place of employment when the economy recovers. Close to half said that during the next one to three years they plan to make a career change by switching to a less demanding nursing position, working as a travel nurse, switching to part-time, retiring, or taking other steps.

Also, 43% of nurses either said they would not recommend nursing as a career or were not sure they would recommend it.