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Despite considerable challenges, majority of doctors happy with career choice, AMA survey reports

Results showed helping people was a primary reason for their career choice, and 61 percent would encourage others to enter their field.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

A new survey by the American Medical Association shows that despite common challenges along the way and current issues like reporting burdens, burnout, and change fatigue nine in 10 physicians are satisfied with their career choice.

In addition to asking whether they were satisfied with their career choice, the survey of 1,200 physicians, residents, and medical students was conducted in February 2017 and asked when respondents knew they would enter the field of medicine, who encouraged them and what challenges they face professionally.

[Also: 20% of consumers would swap doctors for one that offered telehealth services, American Well says]

Results showed helping people was a primary reason for their career choice, and sixty-one percent of those surveyed would encourage others to enter their field. Personal experiences as a patient, volunteer, and with family members also played a role throughout their career stages in moving them forward.

For many, their calling came early, as 73 percent knew before they reached the age of 20 they wanted to be physicians. In fact, nearly a third knew before they became teenagers.

[Also: Physician appointment wait times spike, highlight growing doctor shortage, survey finds]

The survey found administrative burden, stress, and lack of time were among the top three challenges respondents listed. Residents, long hours and on-call schedules were among their biggest challenges.

"Physicians may be discouraged at times, but almost every single one of us remains confident in our decision to enter medicine and continues to be driven by our desire to help our patients," said Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., AMA president. "... Understanding the challenges physicians face, as well as their motivations for continuing on, is critical to fulfilling that mission."

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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