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Career Satisfaction Generally High Among EPs

Hoffman, Lisa

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000484521.86735.ef

    It stands to reason that the more money a physician makes the more satisfied he is with his career, right? Not so fast. Fifty-two percent of those making less than $100,000 rated themselves as very satisfied, higher than any other salary category. Granted, 50 percent of those making more than $350,000 rated themselves as very satisfied as well. An overwhelming majority of emergency physicians — 83.5 percent — are very or somewhat satisfied with the careers, and 10 percent said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied, and they did fall into the lower salary categories. (Data online; see box.)

    Male and female emergency physicians are about equally satisfied with their careers, though men are slightly more so: 85 percent vs. 81 percent. Those reporting dissatisfaction were similar as well: nine percent of men vs. 12.5 percent of women. Career satisfaction also increases with age, from 4.4 percent among those ages 26-0 to 38.4 percent among those 35-40 reporting satisfaction, but that declines again among ages 41-55 (about 38% report dissatisfaction) and doesn't rise again, to 25.8 percent, until EPs are 60 and older.

    Being board certified in emergency medicine has a minimal impact on overall career satisfaction. A total of 82.5 percent of those board certified had some level of satisfaction with their career compared with 83 percent for respondents without certification.

    A clear majority of those taking the survey worked in a hospital or health system, but the professional setting associated with the highest career satisfaction was academia (88.3%). Every EP working in critical care also reported high career satisfaction (100%), though they accounted for only 0.1 percent of emergency physicians answering the survey. Career satisfaction was high in freestanding ERs, too — 86.1 percent — which mirrors the comments made to EMN by EPs working at them. (“Could Freestanding EDs Be Good for EPs?” 2013;25[9]:1; Dissatisfaction was highest among those EPs working in urgent care clinics: 25 percent.

    With the most career satisfaction being reported by respondents in academia, it is no surprise to see career satisfaction highest among those working in a university hospital (89.8%). Career satisfaction was also high among those EPs working for a private, nonprofit hospitals (84.6%) and community, for-profit hospitals (82.1%). Those working in VA/military hospitals and community, nonprofit hospitals weren't far behind, however, coming in with high satisfaction at 81.8 percent and 81.3 percent, respectively. Those not working in a hospital or working for a private, for-profit reported the lowest dissatisfaction with 72.8 percent and 79.6 percent, respectively.

    For the most part, emergency physicians are satisfied with their careers regardless of how busy their departments are. No statistical significance was seen when correlating career satisfaction with ED visits per year, though small increases in career satisfaction were seen with increasing ED visits. Those reporting the highest career satisfaction were working in EDs with 20,001-25,000 visits a year (84.3%) and with more than 30,000 visits a year (83.8%). The highest number of EPs reporting career satisfaction also came in the 20,001-25,000-visits-a-year category: 15.6 percent.

    The study data found a direct correlation between career satisfaction and being satisfied with your employer, however. Those most satisfied with their career were also most satisfied with their employers: 92.4 percent.

    And those EPs in independent groups had the highest career satisfaction: 84.6 percent. Career satisfaction among those employed by hospitals and health care systems reported career satisfaction of 82.3 percent, those working for contract management reported 81.9 percent career satisfaction, and those working locums came in at 77.8 percent.

    The highest career satisfaction was seen among those living in an urban environment. A total of 86.4 percent of city dwellers reported career satisfaction. As respondents reside farther from cities, however, their satisfaction wanes: Only 80.6 percent in suburban areas and 77.5 percent in rural areas reported high career satisfaction. Only eight EPs reported working in remote areas, but they all reported high career satisfaction.

    EPs seem to be satisfied with their careers no matter where in the United States they live. No real pattern emerged for one region being better for EPs than another. That said, 88.6 percent of those living in the West North Central region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Dakota) and 88.5 percent in the West South Central area (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) reported the highest career satisfaction.

    Those regions were followed by the Mountain area (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) at 85.2 percent, Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington) at 84.6 percent, and South Atlantic (Delaware, Washington, DC, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia) at 84.5 percent. Coming in at the lowest in career satisfaction were those EPs living in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire Rhode Island, Vermont) at 73.3 percent.

    Next month: More on Career Satisfaction. We'll cross-reference career satisfaction with age, years in practice, and more. We'll also publish that article ahead of print in our June 21 enews. Sign up for the enews (free!) at

    More Data Online

    Tables of the raw data on the topics covered this month are published in the EMN Salary Survey blog on our website:

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