A growing number of new physicians are focused on finding positions in which they can achieve a suitable work-life balance.
Merritt Hawkins surveyed final-year medical residents and found that geographic location and adequate personal time were driving factors in a young physician’s job-seeking process. CHG Healthcare surveyed new physicians in 2018 and found that 63% cited work-life balance as their top factor in choosing a job. They surveyed 145 new physicians again in 2022, and that number jumped to 85%.
Pandemic life has significantly influenced this shift in priorities. The emphasis on work-life balance can also be seen in the 2022 survey’s second most important factor for new physicians, with 83% citing work schedule or location as their second priority
According to Emory University associate professor of internal medicine Jason S. Schneider, MD, FACP, 92% of physicians aged 35 and younger value work-life balance. However, Dr. Schneider cautions against relying too heavily on finding work-life balance in one’s medical career, as unrealistic expectations may actually contribute to burnout, ultimately further contributing to stress. In order to minimize stress, Dr. Schneider suggests aiming to meet persona goals, as opposed to competing to reach the goals of others. He also emphasizes the importance of prioritizing personal nutritional, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness.
New physicians may find solace in Merritt Hawkins’ finding that 65% of surveyed medical residents received upward of 50 recruiting offers, and 45% got upward of 100 offers.
Perhaps the greater issue at hand, however, is Merritt Hawkins’ finding that 19% of finalyear residents would not decide to go into the medical profession if they could do it over. Managing all of life’s typical stressors, along with navigating the medical field during a global pandemic, has led to increased burnout and ambivalence among new physicians. They see even the most seasoned physicians under duress, questioning their own careers, and it furthers uncertainty. As such, physicians looking for new hires would be best served to consider how work-life balance fits into their practice, for the benefit of both new hires and their own personal careers.