Physician happiness before, after COVID-19: How 29 specialties stack up

Seventy-five percent of physicians were happy outside of work before the pandemic — that dropped to 58 percent after COVID-19. 

The survey includes data from more than 9,100 physicians across 29 specialties, led by Medscape. It looked at physicians' mental health, happiness with family, burnout levels and more. As a result, nearly every specialty previously ranked by happiness has shifted in the rankings after the pandemic's effects. 

Pulmonary medicine and pediatrics previously topped the list. Now, the two have dropped to 14th and 12th, respectively. Infectious diseases, which previously sat at 18th on the list, is now at the very bottom.

Here's how 29 specialties rank in order of happiness now versus prior to the pandemic:

  1. Plastic Surgery — previously 12th

  2. Public health and preventive medicine — previously 20th

  3. Orthopedics — previously third

  4. Otolaryngology — previously 13th 

  5. Urology — previously 24th 

  6. Physical medicine and rehabilitation — previously 17th 

  7. Ophthalmology — previously ninth
     
  8. Dermatology — previously 11th

  9. Pathology — previously seventh 

  10. Gastroenterology — previously 16th

  11. Radiology — previously sixth

  12. Pediatrics — previously second

  13. Surgery — previously 21st

  14. Pulmonary medicine — previously first

  15. Nephrology — previously 26th

  16. Diabetes and endocrinology — previously 23rd

  17. Psychiatry — previously 22nd

  18. Anesthesiology — previously eighth

  19. OB-GYN — previously 14th

  20. Internal Medicine — previously 15th

  21. Family Medicine — previously 10th

  22. Cardiology — previously 19th

  23. Emergency medicine — previously fourth

  24. Critical care — previously 5th

  25. Allergy and immunology — previously 27th 

  26. Neurology — previously 28th

  27. Oncology — previously 25th

  28. Rheumatology — previously 29th

  29. Infectious diseases — previously 18th

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