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January 23, 2023

Physician happiness, in 5 charts

Daily Briefing

    Fewer than half of physicians said they were happy at work in 2022, a significant drop from before the pandemic, according to Medscape's 2023 Physician Lifestyle and Happiness Report.

    Physician happiness

    For the report, Medscape surveyed 9,175 physicians across 29 specialties from June 28, 2022, to Oct. 3, 2022.

    When asked about their happiness outside of work, 58% of respondents said they are very or somewhat happy, a significant drop from before the COVID-19 pandemic when 84% of physicians said they were very or somewhat happy outside of work.

    Similarly, when asked how happy they are at work, 48% of respondents said they are very or somewhat happy compared to 75% who said they were very or somewhat happy at work before the pandemic.

    When asked how frequently they look after their own health, 40% of physicians responded "always" or "most of the time," up from 33% in the 2022 edition of the report.

    The survey also asked participants if they would take less pay for a better work-life balance, to which 53% responded they would. By comparison, a survey from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 40% of average American workers said they would take a pay cut for a better work-life balance.

    The survey also found that a significant number of women felt conflicted trying to balance their responsibilities as a parent with their job. Nearly half of female respondents said they were "conflicted" or "very conflicted" balancing their parenting responsibilities with work compared to just 28% of male respondents.

    Respondents were also asked to describe the quality of their marriage, and 81% of physicians said their marriage is "very good" or "good" while just 4% responded with "poor" or "very poor." Among specific specialties, nephrology and otolaryngology saw the largest percentage of physicians saying they have a "very good" or "good" marriage at 85%.

    According to the report, in 2022, seven specialties had more than 85% of respondents describing their marriage as "very good" or "good." However, in this year's report, none of the specialties exceeded that mark. (McKenna, Medscape Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2023, 1/20)

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