Survey: Physicians Are Happy Professionals But ‘It Sucks Sometimes’

February 11, 2011

If you’re happy and you know it, and you’re a physician, clap your hands - you’re among good company.

If you’re happy and you know it, and you’re a physician, clap your hands - you’re among good company. 

Out of 1,518 physicians who answered a simple poll question - Are you happy as a physician? - posted on Sermo.com, a social networking site for healthcare professionals, 21 percent said they “wouldn’t trade” their profession for anything. Another 37 percent said they are “generally content/satisfied” with their career choice.

The results are in line with our own 2010 Great American Physician survey. When asked about their emotional state, 46 percent of docs said they considered themselves “happier than most people,” while about 10 percent declared their mental state “terrific/couldn’t be happier” and 32 percent said “about average/I have ups and downs like most people.”

Still, a substantial amount of physicians in both surveys said they could be happier - or at least have more free time. In the Sermo poll, 37 percent checked off “it sucks sometimes/I have some reservations” in response to the happiness question.

All this data begs the question: What are the biggest happiness drains? Sermo poll respondents commented that some of their toughest challenges on the job include not being able to spend enough time with patients, the overwhelming burden of stringent federal rules and regulations, increasing economic pressures, and insurance companies interfering with doctor-to-patient care.

As a result, Sermo researchers noted an increasing number of doctors are trying their best to refocus the profession back to the patients by exploring direct cash models and concierge medical care.

We’d like to hear from you. What are your biggest happiness drains as a physician?