Millennial Physicians and the Locum Solution
A recent survey by the AMA and M3 Global Research, an online physician panel, revealed that millennial doctors (35 years old and younger) are generally more entrepreneurial than their older peers, but still highly committed to the profession. When it comes to work/life balance, according to the study, millennial physicians are deeply committed to achieving the balance between personal and professional that they feel eluded many older physicians.
Some 80 percent of young physicians anticipate a career that includes work in related fields beyond patient care, many seeing this as in addition to their full-time work. When asked what they foresee as part of their future careers, the millennials chose entrepreneurial work (42 percent), health care consultant (41 percent), hospital/health system executive (34 percent), and academic researcher (19 percent).
The idea that they may work in an outside or related field, however, did not diminish how they felt about the profession in general. About 83 percent of the millennial physicians said they were either very likely or extremely likely to continue practicing as physicians, despite the hurdles they face. Another 12 percent reported that they were somewhat likely to remain in the field.
The commitment to the medical profession offsets the challenges that young doctors face in day-to-day practice, including excessive paperwork, administrative burdens, electronic health records (EHR) issues, bureaucratic issues, government regulations, medical school loan debt, and frustrations with low payment.
Millennial physicians realize that current conditions must be overhauled. Although young doctors aspire to make this aspect of their lives a priority, however, only 65 percent felt that they had achieved it when surveyed. The disconnect between what physicians aspire to achieve versus their current state may mean that many could turn to Locum Tenens work to fill the gap.
The Locums Solution
Unlike past generations, millennial physicians are more committed to making work/life balance a priority. Some 92 percent of the survey respondents reported that it is important to strike a balance between work and the responsibilities they have to their personal and family lives. One respondent explained, “We are focused on maintaining our identities and relationships outside of work, and many older physicians sacrificed having a life to be good doctors.”
Kansas physician Scott Stringfield told a reporter about the challenges the field faces, saying, “You’ve got highly disciplined, hardworking, some would say somewhat obsessive-compulsive individuals…you take that combination and…an environment where there’s unlimited overwork…that makes it really, really difficult.”
The “unlimited overwork” mentality that Stringfield mentions means that millennial physicians will have to look for new and innovative methods to overcome traditional challenges that doctors have faced for centuries.
As young doctors become a larger segment of the physician population, their commitment to entrepreneurialism and work/life balance will have a significant impact on how they view the profession and the kinds of jobs they pursue. A physician who wants to launch a startup or take on a consulting gig cannot operate under the traditional model.
Locum Tenens opportunities may give the millennial physician the right balance of flexibility and freedom to not only pursue work in a university or research setting but find time to work on personal well-being in an unprecedented fashion for those in the healthcare field. Each generation of new physicians has a transformative impact on the field. Young doctors see life and work as equal and will find ways to work both into their lives, which will not only help the profession, it will improve medical care tremendously.
NEXTLocums offers world class physician services for its clients, including travel and housing assistance, and other helpful benefits essential for physicians interested in Locums Tenens opportunities.