Health & Wellness

Over 71,000 Doctors Quit in 2022: Here’s Why

In 2022, over 71,000 physicians called it quits on their medical careers. Those numbers are staggering, considering there’s a combined healthcare staffing shortage of over 100,000 physicians.

Why are so many doctors leaving? The reasons range from job discontentment to overwhelming pressures. Read on to learn more.

They Lose Their Love for the Role

Most doctors joined medical school to help others and make an impact in whatever way possible.

However, most noticed that what they envisaged was not what they encountered. That can breed contempt for the profession due to the daily drudgery, entailing paper-pushers’ bureaucracy and lack of autonomy.

For example, an administrative task like paperwork often takes much of their time, leading doctors far away from patient care. A transition from patient-centeredness toward more business-like approaches has also added to worries. Their thinking may be that as they entered the field, their ideas could not be more quality than those about providing healthcare might be anymore.

To rekindle their love for medicine, some doctors try working in other healthcare settings, like community health centers or non-profit organizations, where they feel they can create a greater impact. Or, some return to school or specialize in disciplines that better resonate with their interests and values. General medicine – or medicine at all – simply isn’t good for some people.

Too Much Pressure

The pressure on doctors is immense; long shifts, large numbers of patients, and dealing with life-and-death situations all take a toll on mental health, leading to burnout among professionals. And the worst of it is – there’s hardly any support. If anything, when times are at their worst, more pressure is put on doctors to see patients faster.

One solution for alleviating this burden could be reducing tasks that often take too much time with little impact on patient care, like patient documentation. Medical scribes could save the day – a lot of them are hired by This approach significantly eases the workload and associated stress on healthcare providers.

Hospitals can also use measures to support the mental well-being of doctors – one study found 29% of doctors experience depression. Better scheduling so doctors can take holidays, offering support from seniors, and counseling can have a massive impact.

A doctor’s workplace needs to provide an environment where they feel that they are being listened to and valued.

Other Jobs Pay More for Less

Financial considerations go hand-in-hand with career selections. Many doctors feel that despite the many years of schooling they have gone through, their pay does not reflect their effort or expertise adequately. It becomes even more apparent when comparing their wages against those offered by other professions, which require shorter training periods for much less tricky jobs.

For example, doctors often graduate medical school carrying massive amounts of student loan debts (the average is $202,453, which take several years to pay off, especially under relatively low-income conditions during residency training. It’s no secret that careers like tech, finance, or pharmaceuticals offer higher salaries at younger ages without going through long years of training or stressful working conditions involved in medical practice.

To keep physicians in the profession – it’s necessary to provide attractive incomes and benefits. These programs, like loan forgiveness (Biden’s party has done a lot of that recently), sign-on bonuses, and pay-for-performance can reduce financial pressure on doctors, making the career more appealing.

And, an opportunity for promotion through professional growth can boost both personal satisfaction and financial security.

Still, despite everything, some jobs simply pay better for less work. More on that in the coming sections.

The Effect of Bureaucracy

Another reason causing medical professionals to leave their jobs in droves is the increasing amount of bureaucracy in healthcare. Doctors are becoming more administrative by the year, leaving less time for direct patient contact.

This situation may lead to disappointment and a sense of helplessness because paperwork and bureaucratic red tape often take precedence over patient care – filing reports rather than caring for patients. Or, there are the hierarchy issues that turn healthcare into more of a business – meeting patient wait time targets or filling beds rather than looking at staffing is one example.

Giving doctors a say in policy formation and engaging them in decision-making would also result in a supportive work environment. Doctors who could write better policies create better work environments.

By tackling these bureaucratic challenges, job satisfaction will improve, reducing doctors quitting.

Do you think we can stop more doctors from leaving? Well, not us, healthcare systems across the US? Considering the staff shortages, something must change to keep the staff we have with us.


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