Between Hospital Medicine or Primary Care, Young Physicians See Easy Decision

Hospitalists are the fastest growing specialists in the history of American medicine, and young physicians continue to find appeal in the work that leaves them caring for hospitalized patients without an office-based practice, according to a report in The Atlantic.

Here are a few major reasons outlined in the report that help explain the draw of hospital medicine to young physicians:

• An attractive salary. Depending on the region, a starting hospitalist can bring in about $200,000 per year. A starting internist in an office setting will make roughly $150,000, according to the report.
• Balanced schedules. Many hospitalist groups work on a seven-on/seven-off basis. They earn their salary by working seven days straight and then having seven days off — a schedule appreciated by many parents.
• No on-call or after-hour responsibilities. Since hospitalists work in shifts, the physician is done with work once they step outside. Office-based internists still carry pagers and may get phone calls in the middle of the night.
• Familiarity. Since medical students spend a significant portion of time on hospital-based rotations, the setting may be most comfortable for new or young physicians who adapted to hospitals during training.

Despite these benefits, the choice to practice hospital medicine is a component of the primary care physician shortage. Given the increase in insured Americans under healthcare reform, the country may see longer wait times and reduced access to PCPs. Massachusetts enacted a similar healthcare reform law in 2006 — mandating everyone obtain insurance — and the average wait time for a new patient to be seen by an internist is 48 days.

More Articles on the Physician Workforce:

8 Points Hospitals Need to Keep in Mind When Paying Employed Physicians
Primary Care Workforce Stats: Uneven Geographic Distribution Persists
Physician Employment Up by 32% at Hospitals Over Past Decade

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