The Dark Side of Being a Doctor

Busy hospitalDoctors are some of the highest-paid professionals in the United States. According to PayScale, the average salary of a family physician is $175,000. Those with more specific specialties like gynecologists can earn as much as $200,000. Surgeons can get even more.

Moreover, with increased population, longer lifespan, and a spike of chronic diseases, the demand for doctors will continue to grow. In fact, the country may experience a shortage of almost 100,000 doctors by 2025.

The Looming Threat

Despite the profession being lucrative and demanding, it has serious challenges. One of the biggest threats is to a person’s mental health.

Doctors are prone to depression, and the condition can begin as early as when they’re still in medical school. In a 2013 study in JAMA, about 30 percent of young doctors suffered from depression or showed symptoms of the illness. The common reasons were complex, including bullying by senior physicians and sleep deprivation.

But even with the diagnosis and symptoms, most keep the problem to themselves. In a survey conducted by Pamela Wible, MD, among 200 physicians with depression, about 27 percent chose self-care while 14 percent resorted to self-destructive behaviors.

How Healthcare Facilities Can Help

While there are many causes of depression, stress and burnout are the top two among physicians. Healthcare facilities can reduce the likelihood of the condition by adding more staff support.

Physician staffing companies like Emergency Staffing Solutions can provide qualified reinforcement whenever necessary. They can also customize emergency staffing programs depending on needs, kind of facility, and patient care offered.

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These companies can send healthcare professionals from doctors to nurses and physician assistants to suburban and rural areas, which face their issues. These include the lack of enough staff, as well as the difficulty of access to medication and more advanced treatment.

It’s time for the health community to support one another. After all, if doctors don’t feel well about themselves, they also cannot provide the right care for their patients.