How the Harsh Realities of Work in Medicine Impacts Young Physicians

Posted on June 26, 2023 by Bob Leschke, MD

Updated June 28, 2023

Understanding what younger physicians want and need is a key way for an organization to determine how to recruit and retain them. In our previous post, we reviewed what final-year residents want in their first jobs and what it takes to attract them, according to a 2021 survey by the national physician recruiting and consulting firm Merritt Hawkins. 

We've gleaned insights into how younger physicians (those under forty) feel after having been full-fledged working practitioners for a period of time.


Medscape’s Young Physician Compensation Report from 2022 is mainly focused on what young physicians in various specialties are currently being paid, but it also assesses issues such as their workload and their satisfaction with the path they’ve chosen. Here, in a sample of the results, are four areas of concern. (Totals may not add up to 100 percent as respondents gave multiple options equal weight, or because not all response categories are included in the below overview).


These tasks are a burden. According to the researchers, “the share of young physicians who spend 20 or more hours per week on bureaucratic tasks has about doubled since 2016 (18%).”


There is a definite shift in values among young physicians and their peers when reflecting on their professional lives. As reported by Medscape, “For young physicians, making the world a better place has gained favor over the past few years and patient gratitude and being good at their jobs have lost some impact (14%, 35%, and 27%, respectively, in our 2016 report).”


Working with EHRs, a perennial problem for many practitioners, seems to be less of a burden to tech-native younger physicians.


The percentage of physicians with “career buyer’s remorse” in this 2022 study is higher than in the 2021 Merritt Hawkins study from our previous post (21%), showing that each generation of physicians is unique and real change is needed to support these young professionals.

Take the first step in learning how to best support young physicians well-being needs–read our article and then contact us–we’d love to listen to your pain points and collaborate on a plan for whole-person well-being at your organization! 

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