Public Release: 

Majority of new pediatricians satisfied with first jobs

Top factor for job satisfaction among general pediatricians was lifestyle, spouses and family, far ahead of income

University of Michigan Health System

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Despite reports indicating job dissatisfaction among some physicians, at least one group of doctors seems to be starting their careers on the right note - pediatricians.

The majority of new general pediatricians say the most important factor in their top choice for their first job was lifestyle, spouses or family - and more than two- thirds believe their current jobs are consistent with their career goals, a new University of Michigan study says.

The findings, which appear today in Pediatrics, come just as medical students around the country learned during last Friday's national "Match Day" about where they are headed for residency to complete training.

"There are frequent concerns about whether new physicians are being matched with positions that meet their career ambitions, and we found that for pediatricians, the news is quite good," says lead author Gary Freed, M.D., M.P.H., founding director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the U-M Health System and professor of pediatrics at U-M's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

"The vast majority, over 80 percent, of new pediatricians were very satisfied with their first jobs after completing residency and how it matches with their future plans."

General pediatricians comprise the largest proportion of practicing pediatricians in the U.S., with nearly half of new pediatric residency graduates entering the field each year. Researchers surveyed 2,327 general pediatricians taking their initial board certification examinations.

"It's important to look at whether first jobs lined up with career goals in order to understand what leads to job and career satisfaction for the new generation of pediatricians and to help us identify future workforce and training needs," says Freed, who is also a professor in the U-M School of Public Health and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Other study highlights:

  • 69 percent of new pediatricians said lifestyle and family considerations were the most important considerations for their first job. The response was more common by women but still endorsed by more than half of men.

  • 2 percent said earning potential was the most important factor in first job selection.

  • 9 percent said debt at the end of training was the most important factor in first job selection.

  • A greater proportion of women than men plan to work part time at some point in the next five years.

  • More than 1 in 7 pediatricians who work part time in their first job stated they worked more than 40 hours a week.

  • Of the 17 percent not satisfied with how they spend time at work, many said they'd like to spend more time in patient care and less time in , administrative tasks

  • New female general pediatricians were just as unlikely as new male general pediatricians (3 percent) to pursue careers focused on research.

  • Most new general pediatricians want to spend most if not all of their clinical time providing outpatient care for children. Most had no interest in performing inpatient care.

Additional Authors: Lauren Moran, B.A. and Laura Spera, M.S., MC.S. of U-M. Gail McGuinness, M.D. and Linda Althouse, Ph.D. of the American Board of Pediatrics.


Funding: American Board of Pediatrics Foundation

Disclosure: None

Reference: "New pediatricians: First job and future workplace goals," Pediatrics, March, 2015.

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