October 12, 2011
Though the unemployment rate in the U.S. stands at 9.1 percent, one group of people is having no difficulty being solicited for jobs.
Medical students in their final-year of residency have been contacted more frequently with job solicitations compared to past years, according to a recent study by Texas-based recruitment firm Merritt Hawkins. Of the 300 respondents surveyed in the 2011 study, nearly half indicated they had received 100 or more contacts about jobs.
"Even in a stagnant economy, new doctors are being recruited like blue chip athletes," James Merritt, founder of Merritt Hawkins, is quoted on the health care website CMIO as saying. "There are simply not enough physicians coming out of training to fill all the available openings."
What Merritt says does appear to be true, at least according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That agency indicates that job opportunities for physicians and surgeons are predicted to grow by 22 percent during the 2008-2018 time period. If the predicted forecast shows true, more than 144,000 open positions could be created during that time.
According to Merritt Hawkins survey results, as posted on CMIO, the increased drive for new physicians could be a result of the growing population in the U.S. and an increase in the number of elderly people in need of more medical care.
The survey also indicated that some 80 percent of respondents had been contacted at least 50 times about job solicitations, reported the Indianapolis Business Journal. This was favorable compared with years past when, in 2008, just 40 percent of residents reported being solicited for jobs at least 50 times and, in 2006, when 52 percent of respondents reported being contacted a similar number of times.
The study also revealed another interesting fact: 29 percent of the surveyed respondents would choose a different field, according to results published in HeathCare Finance News. That is an increase from 2008 when the number was just 18 percent.
Reasons behind this response included concerns over health care reform, malpractice and the ability to achieve balance between work and life.
"With declining reimbursement, increasing costs, malpractice worries and the uncertainty of health reform, the medical profession is under duress today," Merritt is quoted as saying. "It is not surprising that many newly trained doctors are concerned about what awaits them."
Other results also reported by HealthCare Finance News included: 94 percent of respondents indicated they would prefer to work in communities with more than 50,000 people; 48 percent said they were unprepared for the business aspect of medicine; 32 percent indicated they would like to work for a hospital; 28 percent said they would prefer to become a partner in a physician's group and one percent said they would like to have a solo practice.
Overall, Merritt Hawkins reached out to 10,000 final-year medical students, according to HealthCare Finance News. However, it is important to note that only 300 responded.
"The survey has an error rate of about one to five percent depending on the question," Phil Miller, vice president of communications for Merritt Hawkins, is reported as saying in HealthCare Finance News. "On a question such as 'Would you choose medicine again?' the error rate is pretty low, so I think you can draw some conclusions from the survey."
Compiled by Maggie O'Neill
"Best and Worst of Times for New Docs," ibj.com, October 10, 2011
"New Doctors are Uneasy About Their Career Choice," healthcarefinancenews.com, October 11, 2011, Stephanie Bouchard
"Physicians and Surgeons," bls.gov, May 2011
"Survey: More Residents Getting Job Offers Due to Doc Shortage," cmio.net, October 11, 2011, Kaitlyn Dmyterko