Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where Have All the General Internists Gone?

There's an article in Journal of General Internal Medicine titled, "Where Have All the General Internists Gone?" Are internists stepping into careers outside of internal medicine? I think the answer is yes. Where are they going?  You'll have to read this.

I hope I'm not to blame for some of this mid-career attrition. My intent is not to contribute to the growing physician shortage problem. Rather, I hope to provide information about career medical alternatives for those who are already planning on leaving a career in clinical medicine.

Here's the background on the article:
A shortage of primary care physicians is expected, due in part to decreasing numbers of physicians entering general internal medicine (GIM). Practicing general internists may contribute to the shortage by leaving internal medicine (IM) for other careers in and out of medicine.
The authors conclude:
About one in six general internists leave IM by mid-career compared to one in 25 IM subspecialists. Although research finds that doctors leave medicine because of dissatisfaction, this study was inconclusive about whether general internists left IM in greater proportion than IM subspecialists for this reason. A more likely explanation is that GIM serves as a stepping stone to careers outside of IM.
Why is this occurring?  Perhaps one reason is because of career satisfaction. The authors wrote: A significantly lower proportion of general internists (70%) than IM subspecialists [(77%) (P < 0.008)] were satisfied with their career.

To read the abstract from the  Journal of General Internal Medicine, click on this link.

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