Why Are Physicians Unwilling To Recommend Their Profession?

The American healthcare landscape has undergone dramatic changes over the last 30 years. This evolution is also prompting a change in Physician attitudes about their work, leaving them unwilling to recommend their profession to others.‌ While many factors are contributing to current Physician sentiment, several appear to be significantly more influential and play an underlying role in overall job satisfaction among physicians.

Why Are Physicians Unwilling To Recommend Their Profession?


According to a 2018 Medscape Survey, 42% of surveyed Physicians reported feeling burned out(1). These results highlight a significant factor that is driving todays negative attitudes about working in Medicine. Physician burnout is one of the reasons why physicians are far less likely to recommend their professions due to their own feelings of professional discord.


Stress levels are particularly high for practicing Physicians. This stress often stems from grueling schedules, high levels of accountability for life and death decisions and the financial stresses involved with practice. Over time, this stress can lead to family issues and mental health conditions like anxiety, substance abuse and depression. What's especially troubling is affected Physicians frequently avoid treatment due to continuing mental health stigmas. While 15% of surveyed Physicians reported feeling depressed, many do not seek treatment(1). Suicide rates for Physicians are double that of the general population and highest amongst all professions(2). These alarming statistics illustrate the quiet struggle many Physicians face while practicing and shed light on why many are not recommending the profession.

Lack of Family Time

Sick Patients and Emergencies require around-the-clock care. This makes most Physician schedules hectic and unpredictable. On-call work, extended hours and marked scheduling flexibility are an expected part of the profession. Unfortunately, this fact often wreaks havoc on Physicians' personal lives. The resulting relationship woes and lack of family time contribute to the ever increasing negative attitudes about Physician work.

Financial Stress & Loss of Autonomy

Increases in practice overheads, flat salaries and decreasing reimbursements have made Physician practices even more financially challenging. These challenges have forced many Physicians to join group or managed practices to survive. Physicians joining these groups frequently report decreased autonomy levels and limited input in their own practice direction. These factors lend to feelings of lower physician job satisfaction that are reflected in negative attitudes about the profession.

Increasing Administrative Burdens

Physicians spend an average of eight hours a week on administrative tasks(3). This statistic does not reflect the time also spent on EMR data entry, which quickly adds up to six hours of work a day(4). These burdens are negatively affecting Physician career satisfaction levels with Physicians spending the most time on admin work, reporting the lowest career satisfaction levels(3).

Additional Resources for Physicians and Recruiters

If you are a physician recruiter, you will our collection of tips and strategies on a variety of topics helpful as you search for the right candidate.

Or, if you are a physician who may be experiencing burnout and stress, or you have low job satisfaction, PracticeMatch may have some additional resources that can help. Our physician articles offer a variety of tips and advice on variety of topics, and you can also leverage our career resources or job search tools if you think it's time make a switch.


1. Medscape National Physician Burnout and Depression Report 2108.

2. Medscape news release. Physicians Experience Higher Suicide Rates Than Any Other Profession. May 7, 2018

3. Int J Health Serv. 2014;44(4):635-42. Administrative work consumes one-sixth of U.S. physicians'working hours and lowers their career satisfaction. Woolhandler S, Himmelstein DU.

4. Tethered to the EHR: Primary Care Physician Workload Assessment Using EHR Event Log Data and Time-Motion Observations. Accessed on 11/05/18.