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The EMN Salary Survey

EPs as Happy as Clams at High Tide

Hoffman, Lisa

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000488839.46444.41
The EMN Salary Survey


Emergency physicians are a happy bunch, at least when it comes to career satisfaction, or so it seems from the results of the Emergency Medicine News Salary Survey. A total of 83.5 percent reported they were very or somewhat satisfied with their careers in contrast with just 10 percent who reported they were very or somewhat dissatisfied.

Emergency physicians just entering the profession and those closer to retirement seem to be the most satisfied with their careers. Those practicing one to two years reported the highest career satisfaction overall: 89.5 percent. Likewise, those practicing more than 30 years were also highly satisfied at 88.4 percent. Those in the profession between 10 and 20 years reported the lowest career satisfaction: 79.7 percent for those practicing 11-15 years and 75.4 percent for EPs in practice 16-20 years. Career satisfaction rises again after year 20 with 84.1 percent reporting satisfaction with their careers, but drops again between 26 and 30 years at 76.7 percent.

Having more professional responsibilities, including being a manager, increased overall career satisfaction among emergency physicians. For the most part, satisfaction grew with the more employees one managed. Satisfaction among those managing 16-20 employees was the highest in our survey at 97.8 percent, but those who had more than 30 employees also reported career satisfaction at 91.5 percent. Career satisfaction was lowest among those managing 26-30 employees at 70.6 percent.

Similar to years in practice, the youngest and oldest respondents cited the highest career satisfaction. Ninety percent of those aged 26-30 reported being very or somewhat satisfied with their careers, followed by 86.8 percent of those over 60. Career satisfaction was lowest among those 46-50 at 74.2 percent, which corresponds with those reporting lowest career satisfaction by years of practice, noted above.

Emergency medicine residency directors appear to be the happiest in the specialty, with 91.7 percent reporting that they are very or somewhat satisfied with their careers, compared with 87.9 percent of ED chiefs and 81.6 percent of staff EPs. Admittedly, these numbers are skewed toward emergency physicians.

A direct correlation was seen in our survey between employer and career satisfaction. As one increases, the other follows suit. Those most satisfied with their employers were also most satisfied with their careers at 92.4 percent. Those most dissatisfied with their employers were also highly dissatisfied with their careers: 45.5 percent. EPs working in independent physician groups reported the highest career and employer satisfaction at 44 percent, compared with 32 percent for those who are employees of hospitals and health care systems, 22 percent for those employed by contract management or staffing groups, and two percent for those working locum tenens. The lowest career and employer satisfaction was reported by hospital and health care system employees at 55 percent, followed by 28 percent for contract management or staffing group employees, 16 percent for independent physician group EPs, and one percent for those in locum tenens.

A driver for career satisfaction is being compensated for time spent on administrative tasks such as paperwork and completing medical records. Those who are compensated for this time expressed more satisfaction with their careers: 88 percent. A total of 78.9 percent reporting lower career satisfaction said they were not compensated for administrative time.

Any increase in salary sparked higher career satisfaction, and slight surges in career satisfaction were noted as percent of salary increases rose. Just a small number of EPs reported salary increases of 5.1-6 percent, but 100 percent of them reported high career satisfaction. It would stand to reason that satisfaction would be high among those receiving 6.1-7 percent increases, but the rate of satisfaction dipped to 84.6 percent in that category. EPs receiving more than 7 percent increases also reported high satisfaction at 91.8 percent. Predictably, career satisfaction was lowest among those getting increases of 0-2 percent at 79.5 percent.

Next month: A Closer Look at Gender. We'll cross-reference gender with salary, career satisfaction, board certification, type of employer, and more in next month's salary survey article. We'll also publish that article ahead of print in our July 19 enews. Sign up for the enews (free!) at

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