The Emergency Medicine News Salary Survey
Emergency Medicine News’ own survey delves into all the factors that affect the day-to-day practice of emergency physicians. We’ll look not just at salary, but at how the specialty breaks down by gender, age, years in practice, and much more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

​BY LISA HOFFMAN

Emergency physicians, it seems, have a reputation for changing jobs frequently, but an overwhelming majority told us that they like where they work and are not planning a move. Female emergency physicians, however, are more likely to relocate to find a new opportunity. Nearly 12 percent said they would like to move within three years, compared with 9.6 percent of men.

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Board certification had minimal impact on the decision to relocate. A clear majority of emergency physicians in our survey hold emergency medicine board certification, but 80.4 percent of women and 76.4 percent of men like their current jobs and don't intend to move. Nearly nine percent of those with board certification reported that they would like to move within three years, as opposed to 11.4 percent without board certification who want to move during that time.

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It is not surprising that a willingness to move was directly proportional to decreased career satisfaction. A total of 32 percent of those not happy with their current location were unsatisfied with their career compared with only five percent of those who like their current location. It is likewise unsurprising that those making more than $350,000 per year were happiest in their current location, and that those making lower salaries were more apt to relocate.

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Respondents early in their career were more willing to seek new opportunities in another location. Forty-six percent, for example, of those ages 31-35 said they would make a move within the next three years. That also corresponded with title: attendings were more likely to plan a move than residency directors or chiefs.

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Emergency physicians working for independent groups reported that they were the happiest with where they work: 40.5 percent compared with 23.3 percent for contract management employees, 34.9 percent for hospital employees, and 1.5 percent for locum tenens. The percentages of those planning a move, however, were about the same for independent groups (55.3%) and contract management groups (56.0%) while 85.6 percent of those employed by hospitals planned a move within three years.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

BY LISA HOFFMAN

We've been immersed in our survey data for months now, and as we near the end, we didn't think it was possible to be surprised. But this tidbit did the trick: Nearly 10 percent of emergency physicians who specialized in emergency medicine are not board-certified — in any specialty. These are physicians who are eligible to take the board exam in emergency medicine but skipped it.

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Twenty-five percent of those non-board-certified physicians are 60 or older, and 10.3 percent are directors of their EDs. Where they practice may hold a bigger clue: 37.1 percent in rural areas and 30 percent in suburban ones. Surprisingly, 32.1 percent work in urban EDs. A majority (47.1%) work in EDs that see more than 30,000 visits a year, and 71.9 percent work in hospitals with fewer than 300 beds. Overwhelmingly, non-board certified physicians (76.4%) like where they work, and 75.5 percent are very or somewhat satisfied with their employers. Most (38.6%) work for hospital systems, 32.9 percent for contract management groups, and 26.4 percent for independent emergency physician groups.

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Other findings looking at board certification were somewhat more expected. A total of 42.4 percent of respondents with emergency medicine board certification work in urban EDs and 45 percent work in suburban departments compared with 36.7 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of those without EM board certification. Those numbers flip for rural areas, however: 32.8 percent of EPs without EM board certification and 11.9 percent of those with that same certification.

That trend is evident in how many visits the EDs of those EPs see each year as well. Board-certified emergency physicians generally work in departments with higher annual visits: A total of 76.5 percent of those certified see more than 30,000 visits per year compared with 50 percent of those not board-certified in emergency medicine. That also held true for the number of ED beds. Those with board certification work in hospitals with a higher ED-bed count: 17.9 percent work in EDs with more than 50 beds compared with 11.3 percent of those without emergency medicine board certification.

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A total of 64 percent of respondents without board certification in emergency medicine work in hospitals with fewer than 300 total inpatient beds: 32.8 percent in hospitals with fewer than 100 beds and 31.2 percent with 101-300 inpatient beds. Only 17.5 percent of EPs with EM board certification work in hospitals with fewer than 100 beds; most — 64.5 percent — work in hospitals with 101-500 beds.

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Most emergency physicians — about 80 percent for those with and without emergency medicine board certification — said they were considering a move. About 20 percent of those with and without board certification said they were looking for a better location, and about equal numbers reported the move was for career advancement: 17.4 percent for those with emergency medicine board certification and 23.3 percent for those without. Those with board certification outnumbered those without certification in saying they wanted to move for a better salary: 29.9 percent vs. 13.3 percent. Those without emergency medicine board certification also cited moving closer to family far more often than those with board certification: 23.3 percent vs. 1.7 percent.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

BY LISA HOFFMAN

More male emergency physicians — 84 percent — are board certified in emergency medicine than female EPs, 74 percent of whom reported holding EM board certification. And the younger the EP is, the more likely he is to be board certified. Twenty percent of respondents to our survey over age 56 were board certified, compared with 35 percent over that age who were not. That aligns with what we know from our columnists and readers who express frustration with the time and cost of recertification.

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The data suggest that most emergency physicians become board certified after six years in practice. Sixty-five percent of emergency physicians between the ages of 31 and 50 are board certified compared with 42 percent who are not. Those statistics correlate with years in practice as well: The data show that most respondents obtained their board certification after six years in practice. From there, most maintain their certification through the rest of their career.

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Emergency medicine board certified physicians work in all practice settings, though most (80%) by far work in hospitals and health care systems. That's where most EPs who are not board certified in emergency medicine work as well, though they represent only 19 percent of our total sample. Physicians who do not hold emergency medicine board certification surpass those with board certification only in urgent care clinics (7% vs. 2%) and in freestanding ERs (4% vs. 3%.)

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A majority of physicians board certified in emergency medicine work in community nonprofit hospitals, and that's where most without emergency medicine board certification work as well: 36 percent vs. 33 percent. The rest of those EM-board certified are scattered over private nonprofits (21%), private profit hospitals (14%), university hospitals (12%), community profits (11%), and VA or military hospitals (3%). The percentages for those without emergency medicine board certification closely aligned with EPs with board certification. (Actual numbers are in the EMN Salary Survey blog on our website; see box.)

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Satisfaction with their workplace was identical in those with and without emergency medicine board certification: 75% reported being very or somewhat satisfied. And the percentage who reported being very or somewhat dissatisfied was nearly the same as well: 16 percent for those with EM board certification vs. 15 percent for those without.

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Emergency physicians who are part of an independent emergency physician group reported the highest percentage of board certification — 39 percent — compared with 23 percent without board certification in independent groups. Thirty-seven percent of those with board certification also said they were employees of hospitals and health care systems compared with 54 percent who did not hold board certification. Those working for contract management firms or staffing groups were about the same when it came to emergency medicine board certification: 23 percent with certification and 22 percent without.

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Satisfaction with their employers was about the same when comparing those with and without board certification in emergency medicine; 76 percent with board certification reported being very or somewhat satisfied with their employers, and 75 percent without board certification reported that level of satisfaction. Sixteen percent of those without board certification said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied with their employers compared with 15 percent of those with board certification in emergency medicine who reported those levels of employer satisfaction.

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Board certification also did not appear to affect career satisfaction among those reporting the highest career satisfaction. Eighty-six percent without board certification in emergency medicine said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their careers compared with 83 percent who reported that level of career satisfaction and did not hold board certification in emergency medicine. Eleven percent of those with board certification said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied with their careers vs. seven percent who did not hold board certification.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

BY LISA HOFFMAN

Rounding out our look at gender differences among emergency physicians, we found less in the way of inequity than we expected. Most surprisingly, in fact, more women are in management positions, with 75 percent of them saying they have direct reports, compared with only 60 percent of men. That may be a function of numbers, however, seeing that male emergency physicians outnumber female EPs 3:1.

Male EPs also manage larger teams. Ten percent of men said their teams numbered 30 or more people while only seven percent of women reported the same. The average number of employees managed by all respondents was 6.5.


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The age distribution among those responding to our salary survey was fairly universal between male and female EPs. The average age was 47.8 years for men and 44.9 years for women, with the overall age of all EPs in our survey at 47.1.


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Similar to the age of respondents, male EPs have been practicing emergency medicine a little longer than female emergency physicians: 16.5 versus 13.1 years. The survey showed the majority of women — 23 percent — reported six to 10 years in practice while most men — 19 percent — reported 11 to 15 years in practice. For male and female emergency physicians alike, though, the number of years in practice drops off as they age, with only six percent of women and 13 percent of men reporting more than 30 years in practice.


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Most of those surveyed self-identified as staff emergency physicians — 73 percent of men and 69 percent of women. But the survey found that more men reported that they were chiefs or directors of emergency medicine. Fourteen percent of male emergency physicians fell into that category, while only four percent of female emergency physicians reported those titles. The only title category in which men and women achieved some parity was as residency directors. One percent of female EPs and two percent of male EPs hold that position.

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We didn't expect a major difference in gender by where emergency physicians work or how busy their EDs are, and we didn't find one. Male EPs outnumber their female counterparts 3:1, but no discernible difference in location of practice was seen. Most work in an urban or suburban setting. Specifically, 39 percent of women work in urban EDs and 43 percent in suburban ones. Forty-three percent of men work in urban EDs and 42 percent in suburban EDs. Seventeen percent of female emergency physicians and 15 percent of male EPs reported working in rural EDs, but no women work in remote EDs while one percent of men do.


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Statistically, only a minimal difference was seen between the number of ED visits per year when looking at gender. The vast majority of emergency physicians — 70 percent of women and 73 percent of men — work in EDs that tally more than 30,000 patient visits a year. The remainder are scattered in EDs of various volumes, with the second largest group of eight percent of women and seven percent of men working in EDs with 26,000-30,000 visits per year.

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Next Month: Board Certification. We'll cross-reference board certification with gender, age, years in practice, type of employer, and more in next month's salary survey article. We'll also publish that article ahead of print in our Sept. 20 enews. Sign up for the enews (free!) at http://emn.online/enewsSignup.


Friday, July 1, 2016

BY LISA HOFFMAN

​Gender and salary. No article in this series about our salary survey brought more comments than the one in April where we reported that male emergency physicians earn more on average than their female counterparts — 24 percent more. (http://emn.online/SalSurvey2.) Men on average made $267,623 compared with women's $215,338, and the higher the salaries went, the more the disparity 

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Readers weren't happy about that, especially one who said the data were wrong because the same starting hourly rate is offered regardless of gender. Next time we run the survey, we'll ask about hourly rate and overall salary to get a more nuanced look at what EPs earn. As one EP tweeted to us, that makes sense in a shift-based specialty.

This month, though, we look at gender's influence on other aspects of practicing emergency medicine. Take career satisfaction, for example. Overall career satisfaction was higher in male EPs than in female emergency physicians: 84 percent vs. 77 percent. Money is a prime motivator for satisfaction, and this could be a byproduct of men reporting a higher base salary. Women were more likely to express dissatisfaction with their careers than men. About 15 percent of women said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their careers as compared with about nine percent of men.

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Male emergency physicians also reported higher satisfaction with their employers than female EPs. Nearly 78 percent of men said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their employers compared with about 68 percent of women. Employer dissatisfaction mirrored those findings: Nearly 13 percent of male EPs said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied with their employers, while more than 20 percent of female EPs reported those same levels of dissatisfaction.

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A majority of women surveyed — 56.7 percent — reported working fewer than 40 hours per week compared with 42 percent of men working similar hours. EPs reporting working more than 40 hours each week also varied among genders: 47.7 percent of men and 38 percent of women. In fact, more than 15 percent of male EPs reported working more than 51 hours per week compared with nine percent of female EPs. Weekly hours seeing patients were proportional to total hours worked per week among both genders. A majority of men and women spent 31 hours or more each week seeing patients: 59.8 percent for female EPs and 67.9 percent for male EPs.

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Another area that revealed a gender difference were in the hours EPs reported doing paperwork. Female EPs said they spent less time per week on administrative responsibilities like completing medical records than male EPs. Sixteen percent of men work at least 21 hours per week on these tasks compared with nine percent of women. The number of EPs who reported spending the most time on paperwork also differed by gender: 3.7 percent of female EPs and 6.4 percent of male EPs reported spending more than 31 hours each week on administrative tasks. The EMN survey also found that more female EPs work in a hospital or health care system (41.6%) while male EPs were more likely to be in independent group practices (38.8%).

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Board certification was fairly uniform among male and female EPs at 88 percent and 90 percent, respectively. And they responded equally about the role of salary in their career. Most said they would like to be paid fairly, but also wanted a healthy work-life balance. And male and female EPs also reported similar types of salary increases: 66 percent of women and nearly 64 percent of men said they received flat percentage increases, and nearly 34 percent of women and 36 percent of men reported increases based on goal achievement.

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Next month: Part 2 of Gender. We'll cross-reference gender with title, age, practice locale, years in practice, and more in next month's salary survey article. We'll also publish that article ahead of print in our Aug. 16 enews. Sign up for the enews (free!) at http://emn.online/enewsSignup.