Majority of Residents Report Being Satisfied

Despite large debts and long hours, new survey results find most medical residents are satisfied with their compensation, professional relationships, and career choices. Recently released results of part one of Medscape’s 2015 Residents Salary & Debt Report are based on responses from 1,745 residents across 24+ specialties. The two-part report examines financial, professional topics, lifestyle, and practice-related issues that impact job satisfaction, career outlook and employment considerations. Ahead are highlights of the findings.

Compensation and Debt:

• In 2015, the average resident reported a salary of $55,400, up slightly from $55,300 the year before.
• Male and female residents averaged nearly the same salary ($56,000 to $55,000 respectively); a slight improvement since 2014 ($56,000 vs. $54,000, respectively).
• Eighth-year residents made about 20 percent more ($63,000) than those newly graduated ($52,000). The highest paid residents are in critical care ($62,000), oncology ($61,000) and pulmonary medicine ($61,000), while the lowest paid are in internal and general/family medicine (each $53,000).
• More than one-third (37 percent) of residents carry upwards of $200,000 in debt, while approximately two-thirds (68 percent) have at least $50,000 in unpaid loans compared to the average graduate student who carries $57,600 in debt.
• About three quarters (74 percent) of 2015 respondents stated that potential earnings were somewhat-to-extremely influential in their specialty selection, and more than half (56 percent) of primary-care residents planned to switch specialties.

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Hospital Life and Personal Wellness

• The majority of reported hospital time is devoted to patient care, with 79 percent of residents seeing patients at least 40 hours per week and 38 percent treating patients 60 hours per week.
• The percentage of residents working more than 60 hours per week is high in the first year (67 percent), but declines gradually through the fifth year (36 percent).
• 13 percent report that they always spend enough time and attention on personal wellness in order to prevent burnout.
• 58% of residents felt that they had a reasonable balance of important responsibilities and standard chores—20 percent said they had too much scut work, and 22 percent reported no menial work at all.
• 84 percent affirm that they look forward to becoming a doctor, and cite “clinical knowledge and experience” (75 percent), “Being very good at putting what I’ve learned into practice” (69 percent), and “Gratitude/relationships with patients” (63 percent) as key satisfaction measures. “Making good money” ranked near the bottom, with 32 percent citing it as a source of job satisfaction.

The survey also found that 70 percent would be willing to conduct telehealth sessions via online videoconferencing, though this willingness seems dependent on incorporating face-to-face time with the patient. The figure dropped for non-visual technologies, such as phone and e-mail (63 percent and 56 percent, respectively), but was still acceptable to the majority.

To view the full report, visit http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/public/residents-salary-and-debt-report-2015

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AMA to Expand Funding for Innovative Medical Education

The AMA says it will provide funding for up to 20 additional medical schools to join the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium and work toward a significant redesign of undergraduate medical education that better aligns with the 21st century health care system.

Created by the AMA in 2013, each of the 11 medical schools in the consortium received a $1 million grant over five years to develop innovative curriculum models to help medical students better prepare for delivering care in the rapidly evolving health care landscape. The projects currently underway encompass many educational innovations, including models for student immersion within the health care system from day one of medical school and competency-based models enabling students to advance through medical school based on their own individualized learning plans, the AMA says.

As part of this second phase of the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, the AMA called on medical schools to build upon and implement the education models created by the 11 founding consortium schools, as well as offer unique projects that can be shared with medical schools nationwide. The AMA says it will provide $1.5 million over the next three years to fund up to 20 additional schools’ projects that support a significant redesign of undergraduate medical education. Interested medical schools must submit their proposals by Sept. 16 at www.changemeded.org.

A national advisory panel will evaluate submitted proposals and select projects that incorporate one of the following themes:

• Developing flexible, competency-based pathways
• Teaching and/or assessing new content in health care delivery science
• Working with health care delivery systems in novel ways
• Making technology work to support learning and assessment
• Envisioning the master adaptive learner
• Shaping tomorrow’s leaders

Projects that do not fall under one of these themes but provide a valuable contribution to the consortium will also be considered. Each selected school will join the consortium and work together with the founding 11 schools to share innovative ideas and best practices on new programs and curricula that can quickly be disseminated and implemented in additional medical schools across the country. n