Competitive residencies make for higher physician salaries

Physicians who complete competitive residencies tend to make higher salaries and also may have lower rates of burnout, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine

Researchers compared the "fill rate" of residencies with median salary data from the Medical Group Management Association and data from Medscape's Lifestyle Report. 

They found a strong correlation between the competitiveness of residencies and median salary. So for example, family medicine was the least competitive specialty and earned the lowest median salary of $221,419 in 2015. Lifestyle factors were loosely related to competitiveness as well. The researchers found a negative correlation between burnout and competitiveness.

This means the least competitive and lowest earning specialties, the bottom three of which were all found to be in primary care, also have the highest rates of burnout. This data shows there is little incentive to go into primary care for most residents — they face potentially lower salaries and a greater toll on their personal wellbeing. These factors should be considered by medical schools, hospitals and health systems and the industry at large as it works toward a solution to the primary care shortage.  


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