There’s a lot to love about being a physician. The profession provides prestige, interesting work, handsome financial rewards and the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of patients.
It can also be stressful.
According to a 2016 article published by TIME, physicians often feel emotionally exhausted as a result of their work and rank among the top of the list of professionals most likely to experience burnout.
The reasons for burnout vary, but a Mayo Clinic study concluded that many doctors feel subjugated and stifled by the changing face of the doctor-patient relationship. That is to say that physicians are seeing a lot less of their patients’ faces and more of their computer screens.
The study concludes that the increase in busywork tied to managing and maintaining electronic medical records is a key reason physicians burnout. In addition, changes to the billing and documentation are forcing physicians to spend less time in the exam room and more time on administrative tasks.
That’s not what most physicians thought they’d be doing when they invested 12 or more years to learning their profession. It also leaves many wondering how they can live a better life.
The good news is that people care about physicians, who are absolutely essential to the country’s quality of life. That’s why some really smart people working to figure out how to live a better life.
Here’s a look at some of the answers they’ve come up with:
But they should.
The first step towards figuring out how to live a better life is to be honest about how you’re currently feeling. According to the Mayo Clinic study, which was conducted over three years and included nearly 7,000 physicians, 54 percent of those surveyed had at least one symptom of burnout.
Those who acknowledged their symptoms were more likely to seek help.
But, the programs are there for a reason: they work.
Resist the urge to normalize and rationalize the stress (and distress) you feel. Use the resources available to you to take action to find peace within yourself and create positive change in your work environment.
There is a movement afoot to create cultures of well-being, and it’s being led by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Make the most of the momentum to change the work culture and you’ll be on your way to figuring out how to live a better life.
The wellness wheel refers to the six types of wellness: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social and occupational. The article’s authors suggest that physicians spend time every day reflecting on these six areas and whether or not each is “healthy.” If you find that your wellness wheel is out of balance, you have the power to address the roots of the problems.
At Elliot Health System, we pride ourselves on our ability to help providers maintain a healthy work-life balance. If that is something you would like to achieve, apply today.
The numbers are staggering.
More than 80 percent of all medical school students graduate with debt, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. And, it’s not an insignificant amount; the median debt for all indebted medical school graduates in 2015 was $183,000.
That’s a tough sum to swallow after spending 12 to 15 years grinding away in school.
To make matters worse, paying back $183,000 in physician loans at 6 percent interest (which is pretty standard) can cost you about $2,000 a month and take more than 10 years–and include more than $60,000 in interest charges.
Those numbers can seriously cramp your lifestyle and keep you from realizing your financial dreams–especially if you don’t make wise financial decisions. The good news is that you can fight back against these staggering numbers and shorten the length of time it takes to pay down the debt.
Here’s a look at five ways to combat physician loans:
Many newly minted medical school graduates have often asked for and received signing bonuses. But, now that the country is in the midst of a physician shortage, the likelihood of receiving a signing bonus is better than ever–and the bonus is likely to be bigger than ever.
It can be uncomfortable to ask for a signing bonus, but it’s worth it. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the average signing bonus for physicians hired during the first half of 2015 (the last year for which figures are available) was more than $21,000. At the end of the day, any amount can help doctors address their physician loans.
Many medical school students let their physician loans go into forbearance while they are in residency. Doing this allows the students to postpone making loan payments, but it does not stop interest from accruing.
However, there are programs that allow you to postpone interest capitalization while actually giving you an interest subsidy during the first three years you are making payments on your physician loans.
It sounds so simple, because it is so simple. It can also save you an incredible amount of money. It’s refinancing, and it’s something you should constantly consider while you are paying back your physician loans.
Of course, refinancing only makes sense if you can lower your interest rate. So the first thing you should do when you graduate from medical school is figure out if refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate makes sense.
Many states offer loan forgiveness and repayment programs for physicians willing to work in areas that are under-served by health care.
New Hampshire, for example, offers $75,000 toward physician loans to full-time primary care physicians who work in an area of the state that is experiencing a physician shortage for three years.
These programs are great ways for doctors to combat their physicians loans and gain valuable experience.
After at least 12 years of education, many new physicians are in a hurry to realize the fruits of their labor. So instead of focusing on reducing their physician loans as quickly as possible, they buy expensive homes, cars and toys–and find themselves in even more debt.
Simply living within your means (and living in an area where the cost of living is low) is actually one of the easiest ways for you to combat your student loan debt.
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Nurse practitioners play an important role in hospitals. They’re involved in everything from diagnosing, treating and managing acute and chronic illnesses.
That makes for a fast-paced work environment where decisions have to quickly and sometimes with only partial information. One way for nurse practitioners to be more efficient and effective in delivering care is to stay up-to-date with the latest medical news about their work, societal trends affecting their patients and new treatment options.
Here’s a look at some of the latest medical news for nurse practitioners:
Nurse practitioners may soon be able to care for Medicare patients outside of hospitals. As part of an effort to address the nation’s shortage of doctors and improve the quality of care elderly patients receive, President Obama’s administration has put forward a proposal to allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to deliver primary care services in patients’ homes.
According to a story published on DailyNurse.com, the administration–along with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services–believe that expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants could lead to lower healthcare costs, shorter hospital stays and better care for patients who otherwise might not be treated.
Nurses are on the front lines when it comes to helping people live long lives. But, at some point, there comes a time when end-of-life care is necessary. These cases can be trying for nurse practitioners, who are trained to help keep people healthy.
Thankfully, there are resources to help nurse practitioners help patients who are candidates for hospice care. In what might be one of the most important pieces of the latest medical news, the Advance Healthcare Network published “The Role of the Nurse Practitioner in Hospice Care.”
It’s a must-read for anyone who works with the elderly or people suffering from chronic and often fatal diseases.
In what is a becoming more common in the healthcare industry, a group of nurse practitioners have opened a medical practice in Washington Heights, New York.
The nurse practitioners, all of whom were educated at Columbia University School of Nursing, will be staff and manage the practice. The goal is to expand healthcare options for people who live in the area and train advanced practice nurses to deliver complex care to people who are living with chronic diseases.
This is the second such medical practice opened by Columbia University and just might be an indication of the expanding role nurse practitioners will have in the future.
Would you like to learn about nurse practitioner opportunities within Elliot Health System? If so, check out our open provider positions.
It’s quite possible that there has never been a better time to be a physician assistant.
The profession has never received more respect. It’s a growing area of health care. And, the need for physician assistants is expected to grow by a whopping 30 percent between now and 2024, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
All of these good vibes have led many physician assistants to look for new opportunities, more money and better benefits.
But, it’s not always easy to start a new job as a physician assistant. Every organization has its own culture, values and idiosyncrasies. The sooner you can figure them out, the sooner you’ll be able to successfully navigate your new job and make a positive impact in the lives of your patients as well as your organization.
Here’s a look at three tips designed to help every physician assistants navigate new jobs:
Even though physician assistants have never been more well-respected or visible, you can’t assume that all of your new colleagues and patients will understand–or respect–your role with the organization.
Many patients unsure about physician assistants. Some of your new colleagues might feel like you’ve been hired to replace them, which you know isn’t true–but, insecurities can be difficult to overcome.
That’s why it’s important to educate your colleagues and patients on the role of the physician assistant. It’s quite possible that people will be surprised by the wide range of things you are able to do. Rather than have your role create tension or turf wars, be prepared to share factual information.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants website is chock full of resources that can help you educate your colleagues.
Physicians have been caring for patients for hundreds of years. Physicians assistants have only been around for about 50 years. For this reason, you are going to want to spend some time promoting yourself as well as the profession.
Many patients aren’t aware of the benefits of working with a physician assistant to stay health. Many might not even know you exist. Introduce yourself to patients by sending a letter. Attend promotional events outside of the practice. Get to know your patients on a personal level. Share your story, your hobbies and your previous experience with them.
That’s how you build trust, a solid patient base and the practice.
Promote yourself and you’ll quickly become invaluable to the organization.
The physician assistants who are best able to navigate new jobs are those who quickly understand that collaboration is the key to their success. After all, no physician assistant is an island–all physician assistants work closely with doctors, nurses and the office staff to care for patients.
So fight the urge to try to quickly prove yourself all by yourself. Make sure you take the time to get to know your new colleagues, learn how they like to work and be patient as you get to know them both personally and professionally. Once you have built trust, you’ll be better prepared to deliver exceptional care to your patients.
And speaking of patients, one of the quickest ways to earn their trust is to have the physicians with whom you’ll be working with introduce you to them.
Collaborating on your introduction–as well as the care you provide–can go a long way toward helping you be accepted by your new patients more quickly than you otherwise might be.
There has never been a better time for you. Use these tips to make the most of it!
Would you like to learn more about open physician assistant careers at Elliot Health System? If so, click below.
There are a lot of reasons to love Southern New Hampshire.
People who live in the Granite State like the abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Tourists talk about the quaint towns and brilliant fall colors.
Physicians who call Southern New Hampshire home have plenty of other reasons to claim that the area is the perfect place to live, practice medicine and play.
Here’s a look at three reasons why physicians love living there:
If national studies are to be trusted, the people who live and work in New Hampshire care about two things that directly effect physicians: education and health care.
A 2015 report published online ranked New Hampshire as the seventh best-educated state in the country, with more than 92 percent of adults having at least a high school diploma and 35 percent achieving at least a bachelor’s degree.
People in the Granite State also value their health. According to an analysis done by Medscape, more than 60 percent of the state’s population has employer-sponsored insurance coverage, which is much higher than the national average. In addition, only about 10 to 12 percent of the population lacks health insurance.
Well-educated, well-insured patients often make the best patients.
If you are a physician interested in innovating and working to improve the quality of the healthcare industry, Southern New Hampshire is the perfect place for you.
Hospitals in the area are involved in some innovative and incredibly interesting areas of medicine, including aeronautics and aviation medicine, child protection, improving pre-hospital healthcare and more.You don’t have to live in a large, urban area or work at a large research or teaching hospital to find opportunities to innovate.
You can do that at a community hospital in Southern New Hampshire, where you’ll be challenged professionally and enjoy an incredibly high quality of life.
There are two primary ways to measure the quality of life offered by a particular city, state or region. You can ask those who live in the area or you can refer to studies that measure such things as family well-being, tax climate, health, per capita income and education.
Whatever your preferred method, you are likely to draw the same conclusion about Southern New Hampshire: It offers an unmatched quality of life.
New Hampshire consistently ranks among the best places to live in the United States. It has ranked as the safest state in the country. It has delivered the lowest poverty rate. It is in the top 10 for several metrics, including per capita income, tax climate and the overall health of its residents.
And, it has ranked as the number one most livable state in the country.
All of these variables are measurable and easily compared to those of other states. But, perhaps the best endorsement of life in Southern New Hampshire comes from those who call it home and rave about the lakes, the wilderness, the hiking, the ocean, the lack of a sales tax and all of the charm and charisma that comes from living in a state with the motto “Live free or die.”
Yes, there are many reasons to love New Hampshire–especially if you are a physician.
Would you like to find out more about what sort of adventures are available to you in and around Southern New Hampshire?
The health care industry is an ever-changing world or policy, protocols and people. Even on your days off, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest medical news that pertains specifically to physician assistants like yourself.
Here, to help you stay abreast of important information that could help advance your career and deliver exceptional patient care, is the latest medical news for physician assistants:
According to a recent story published on DailyNurse.com, President Obama’s administration has proposed a lift on the current ban that prevents physician assistants and nurse practitioners from providing direct care to Medicare patients in their homes.
If accepted, the proposed change could have a significant impact on both elderly patients and physician assistants.
Right now, physician assistants are only allowed to provide direct care to Medicare patients in nursing facilities and other inpatient care centers. These limitations on patient access can make it difficult for some elderly Medicare patients to get the care they need–especially in areas of the country where physicians are in short supply.
For physician assistants, a rule change could lead to greater career opportunities and advancement, more job prospects and the ability to expand their skill set by monitoring patients remotely and providing care for chronic and other conditions in patients’ homes.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when physician assistants were viewed as exclusively primary care professionals. Those days are gone.
In what might be the most exciting of all the latest medical news stories about physicians assistants, Forbes has reported that more than 70 percent of all physicians assistants are now working in specialty areas of medicine such as surgery and emergency medicine.
According to the Forbes report, the role change for physician assistants is due in large part to doctor shortages, which are only expected to grow between now and 2025, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
What does this mean for physicians assistants? In the short term, it means more opportunities to expand your skill set. In the long run, it could lead to increased pay and job security.
It is quite possible that there has never been a better time to be a physician assistant. Government officials and hospital administrators want to increase their roles and responsibilities–which leads typically leads to increased pay–and hospitals and clinics across the country can’t hire them fast enough.
In September, websites, newspapers and industry journals reported that the fastest growing field in medicine is that of the physician assistant.
According to the reports, the demand for physician assistants is being driven by two main factors: a shortage of physicians and an increased reliance on team practicing team medicine. Whatever the reason, being in high-demand is good news for anyone who is considering making a job switch or just entering the profession.
It’s no secret that opioid addiction is an epidemic that has touched every community across the country. Local and national leaders have been looking for a way to address the problem, and now Congress is calling on physician assistants to help.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants reports that Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 in July. In doing so, lawmakers made it possible for physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine to people suffering from opioid addiction.
Buprenorphine is widely used to treat opioid addiction and is often preferred over other drugs because it has a lower potential for misuse and overt abuse.
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The United States is in the midst of a physician shortage. According to a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the country will need between 60,000 and 94,000 new physicians by 2025.
While the shortfall is generally bad news for both healthcare providers and patients, it does present a unique opportunity for newly minted medical doctors who now have more options than ever when it comes to deciding where to start their careers.
Many will seek employment with healthcare systems with large hospitals in heavily populated urban areas. Others will opt for teaching hospitals, where they will be involved with research and shaping the future of health care. Then there are those who will find their first physician jobs at community hospitals, where they will cut their teeth on a variety of cases, build strong connections with the community and have extensive opportunities for growth.
In fact, the majority of all doctors who work in hospital settings are employed by community hospitals. Some start their careers in other areas, most start in a community hospital and stay there. Here are three reasons why:
At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive, but a community hospital often offers new physicians more opportunities than a hospital in a large, urban area.
The community hospital physician often needs to become a “jack- or jill-of-all-trades” because there are fewer specialists on staff. This means that you’ll be responsible for providing direct care to patients with a broad range of illnesses.
Physicians who get their first jobs at a community hospital often see cases they didn’t come across in medical school or during their residency sooner than those who start with larger healthcare systems.
In many communities across the country, the community hospital is the only game in town. People depend on it for all of their healthcare needs–from primary care to acute care to specialty care. This allows community hospital physicians to build deep connections with the patients they serve and the communities in which they live.
In addition, there is often less bureaucracy at community hospitals, meaning physicians often have more decision-making authority, fewer quotas and are able to have a role in shaping the future of the organization and its role in the community.
These connections often lead to opportunities to play important leadership roles in the community–from serving on philanthropic boards to partnering with the business community to supporting arts and culture in the area.
Cost of living, commuting, crime and recreational opportunities all combine to create a quality of life, which is important when it comes to choosing where to begin your career.
While it’s true that physicians practicing in urban or large suburban areas often earn slightly higher salaries than those who practice in community hospitals, it is also generally true that community hospital physicians enjoy lower costs of living, shorter commutes with less traffic and lower rates of stress.
It is also true that earning a slightly lower salary at a community hospital can actually leave you with more money (and far less stress) at the end of each year because of the lower cost of living and lower cost of real estate.
Yes, quality of life should be an important consideration when choosing where to start your career–and the quality of life at a community hospital is often higher than it is at a hospital that is owned by a large healthcare system.
Being a doctor isn’t all about the money. It’s also about opportunities, connections and quality of life, all of which you’ll find at community hospitals.
At Elliot Health System we believe in outstanding physician career opportunities and a positive work-life balance, which is why we created a free Outdoor Adventure Guide for anyone considering relocating to the area. Check it out!
Health care is becoming an industry that is increasingly fragmented and specialized. Big paydays (and sometimes rock-star status among patients and colleagues) are hard for newly minted medical doctors to resist, so a growing number are choosing to pursue careers in orthopedic surgery, cardiology, oncology and radiology.
But, there is one area of medicine that has always attracted a group of caring and talented professionals who are dedicated to treating the entire patient: family medicine.
The nearly 125,000 family medicine physicians practicing across the United States don’t focus on a specific type of patient, organ or disease. Instead, they provide integrated care for millions of patients of all ages, genders and overall health.
If you are currently considering what type of medicine you would like to practice, consider becoming a family medicine physician.
Here’s a look at the top reasons why family medicine physicians are indispensable to our nation’s healthcare system–and why you should join their ranks:
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, family medicine physicians account for one out of every five office visits in the United States and treat nearly 200 million patients.
That’s almost 50 percent more than the next most-visited specialty area, meaning that physicians who specialize in family medicine are in high demand and enjoy incredible levels of job security.
Few physicians have the ability to positively impact both the health of individuals and the country as a whole like those who deliver primary care.
Primary care physicians are called upon to address a wide range of medical issues–from the acute to the chronic to the preventative–involving a wide range of patients. They are trained in pediatrics, obstetrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, surgery and community medicine, and the more their patients see them, the lower the cost of their patients’ health care.
In addition, family medicine physicians provide the majority of care for Americans who live in traditionally under-served urban and rural areas of the country.
But, to truly understand the impact that primary care physicians have on the country’s overall health, you only need to know that the American Academy of Family Physicians says that increasing access to primary care by one family medicine physician per 10,000 people can result in:
Yes, if you truly want to make an impact as a physician, you should consider a career in family medicine.
Cardiologists focus on the cardiovascular system. Oncologists focus on cancer. Urologists specialize in diseases of the urinary tract.
Physicians who work in the area of family and primary care medicine may deal with any and all of these issues and areas of the body on any given day.
If the challenge of working with a wide range of specialty areas sounds appealing, a career in family and primary care medicine might be the right career path for you.
You will work with a patients from all walks of life who present with a wide range of diseases and healthcare concerns. You will also be able to develop deep, meaningful relationships with your patients that allow you to truly understand and manage their health care over long periods of time.
This type of variety makes you indispensable to both your the patients you treat and the hospital for which you work. That’s why many family and primary care physicians are able to set their own schedules, decide where they want to work and greatly enjoy the profession.
Elliot Health System has primary care opportunities available for dynamic providers like you. Learn more below.