Originally Posted by Towelie
FPs do have consistently very high job and life satisfaction. I wonder what that's all about. Self selection maybe?
53% of PCP's are "dissappointed" with their net income.
30%-40% are "somewhat" or "very dissatisfied" with Primary Care overall
~30% would not choose to become a physician if they had to do it all over again.
~22-46% would choose a surgical or diagnostic specialty if they had to do it over again.
---> It looks like a large fraction of PCP's are not happy campers.
"Some have said that this decline reflects a lack of commitment among the current generation of trainees. I disagree. Medical students and residents are no less idealistic or dedicated today than they have been in the past. But the decrease in job satisfaction, the increase in educational debt (which now routinely exceeds $100,000), and the growing disparity in salary relative to other specialties could together create a strong sense that becoming a primary care physician may be a fool's errand. If the current problems of primary care practice are not addressed, the number of students and residents entering the field will undoubtedly continue to decline.
With all the changes in our health care system, one thing remains constant: the needs of patients. Patients want a continuing relationship with a doctor whom they trust, and they increasingly need that doctor to act as an advocate to help them get the best care within a fragmented health care system.4 A strong primary care infrastructure is associated with better health outcomes, lower costs, and a more equitable health care system, since primary care is key to providing services to vulnerable populations.5 There is an urgent need to reverse current trends. Although the line of students signing up for a career in primary care medicine is getting shorter, the line of patients in need of primary care doctors is getting longer every day.
Percent Change between 1998 and 2006 in the Percentage of U.S. Medical School Graduates Filling Residency Positions in Various Specialties.
Data are from the National Resident Matching Program.
 Starfield B, Shi L, Macinko J. Contribution of primary care to health systems and health. Milbank Q 2005;83:457-502. [CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
"Evidence of the health-promoting influence of primary care has been accumulating ever since researchers have been able to distinguish primary care from other aspects of the health services delivery system. This evidence shows that primary care helps prevent illness and death, regardless of whether the care is characterized by supply of primary care physicians, a relationship with a source of primary care, or the receipt of important features of primary care. The evidence also shows that primary care (in contrast to specialty care) is associated with a more equitable distribution of health in populations, a finding that holds in both cross-national and within-national studies. The means by which primary care improves health have been identified, thus suggesting ways to improve overall health and reduce differences in health across major population subgroups.