Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
New doctors have more debt but better work-life balance
Physicians just graduating from medical school and embarking on their residencies will have shorter hours, bigger debt and a more even work-life balance than doctors who finished school in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, according to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The article explains that shortages of physicians have allowed new physicians more leverage for such things as time off and regular hours. But this trend also has created generational tension as older doctors who have put in decades of long hours still wait to find a good work-life balance while their younger counterparts are having more traction requiring that right away.
At the same time, the average American medical student graduates with more than $150,000 in student debt, so recent graduates also are concerned about paying off their debt when they enter practice.
The AMA's comprehensive resource Succeeding from Medical School to Practice includes a wealth of valuable information plus streaming video to help medical students, residents, fellows and young physicians confront the nonclinical demands of training and today's practice environment. Developed by AMA physician colleagues, this guide offers AMA members the tools needed to succeed at every stage of their career.
Mayo Clinic's share of GME state funds waning
Over the past decade, the state of Minnesota has sharply decreased the amount of state funding distributed to the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education (GME) for training new physicians. At its peak, the school received more than $18 million annually to defray the cost of physician training. In 2013, they received only $2.3 million.
The Mayo Clinic has reaffirmed its dedication to physician training but admits the decrease in funding impacts their programs.
"Mayo is firmly committed to medical education as part of who we are and what we do," Steven Rose, MD, dean of Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, said in a statement to Post Bulletin. "We know it's an important investment in our future, but it is strained by the fact that the financial support from government is less than what it was, and it's constrained by the fact of all the changes across health care."
The funding cuts mean Mayo has had to try to make up the lost funding on its own. Mayo's program has more than 1,500 residents across 271 programs.
On a federal level, the AMA believes Congress should sustain Medicare support and federal funding for GME to protect access to care and address physician shortages in undersupplied specialties and underserved areas. Visit the AMA's grassroots advocacy site, www.SaveGME.org, to be part of the concerted effort to urge Congress to protect federal funding for GME.
Virtual Mentor explores what cancer "survivorship" means
Much celebrity attends those who overcome or trick cancer. Consider the tremendous media attention recently garnered by actress Angelina Jolie for her "courageous" decision to undergo prophylactic mastectomies.
But the reality for many people who are facing cancer looks "nothing like the celebratory events, sound bites or marketing materials that pervade the cultural landscape," writes Gayle Sulik in the latest issue of Virtual Mentor, the AMA's online ethics journal. Read Sulik's article, "What Cancer Survivorship Means," in the August issue of Virtual Mentor.
Readers can weigh in with their views of cancer survivorship by taking this month's ethics poll on the journal's home page.
Other ethical questions raised in this month's issue consider the extreme prices for drugs of marginal benefit, drug shortages that compel physicians to decide who receives preferred treatment and genomics-driven cancer therapy.