New doctors see workload, pay as grim

May 19, 2012 at 12:35 AM
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ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 19 (UPI) -- Many U.S. medical students preparing to be residents already have negative views of their workloads as physicians, researchers found.

Lead study author Dr. Julie Phillips, a University of Michigan Health System resident at the time of the study and now Lansing Community Clerkship director at Michigan State University's department of family medicine, said a multi-school study found med students had an especially grim view of entering primary care.

Medical students surveyed at the University of Michigan, Brown University and Michigan State University from 2006 to 2008 said both primary care and specialty physicians had too much administrative work and were harried by the pace of their jobs.

The medical school students were also unsure whether physicians had control over their work schedules, were able to develop good patient relationships or if they were to be overwhelmed by patient needs, Phillips said.

"The study indicates students are influenced by experiences before medical school but observing and participating in the work of practicing physicians doesn't seem to change those views," Phillips said in a statement. "Our learners' negativity about their future work lives reflects a pessimistic culture of medicine, some of their views are based on broader cultural messages but some come from what they see."

The medical students also said they viewed primary care physicians as being undercompensated and having less control over work hours than specialists, the study said.

The study was published in Family Medicine.

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