07/12/2021

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Physician Shortage by Specialty: Things You Should Know

Which Medical Specialties Is There A Shortage? | Faculty of Medicine

Is there a national shortage of physicians?

There is a shortage of physicians in the United States of America. There is an estimate that the US could be as short as 120,000 physicians by 2030. The physician shortage by specialty depends on the state that you are in. There is currently a 41% shortfall in urology, and there are 2,800 more psychiatrists that are needed to meet current demands.

Which medical specialties have shortages?

  1. Psychiatry
  2. Emergency Medicine
  3. Hospital Medicine
  4. Endocrinology
  5. Rheumatology

Which medical specialty is in highest demand?

  1. Family Physicians

Family physicians are one of the most well-known of all the different types of doctors. They are the ones providing the needed help to combat the shortage, between 21,400 and 55, 200 primary care physicians.

  1. Internists

Internalists are the physicians who diagnose and perform non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. They mainly provide care mainly for adults.

  1. Emergency Physicians

They are the ones who s[eacialise in emergency medicine. They are quick-thinkers, being able to swiftly address different life-threatening and emergent situations. They conduct evaluations, make diagnoses, stabilize patients, and work with a diverse array of patients with different conditions.

  1. Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are the physicians who treat and diagnose mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. What they do is conduct medical laboratory and psychological tests in order to diagnose and treat their patients. 

  1. Obstetricians and gynecologists

Obstetricians and Gynecologists (otherwise known as the OB/GYNs) are the physicians who provide medical care that is related to the female reproductive system. They diagnose, treat diseases, and provide care related to pregnancy and childbirth.

  1. Neurologist

These are the physicians who diagnose and treat diseases that are related to the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. They treat patients who are suffering from strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, seizure disorders, and other spinal cord disorders.

  1. Radiologist

Radiologists are the physicians who use the s-rays, radioactive substances, sound waves in ultrasounds, and the body’s natural magnetism in MRIs to help diagnose illnesses in their patients.

  1. Anesthesiologists

These are the physicians that administer anesthetics and sedation during medical and surgical procedures and maintain life support and airway management.

  1. Pediatricians

Pediatricians are the ones who mainly deal with anything related to children. They diagnose and treat a wide array of diseases and injuries in children, adolescents, and babies, practice preventive medicine, diagnose common childhood diseases (like asthma, allergies, and croup), and provide referrals to other specialists when they are needed.

  1. Cardiologists

Cardiologists are physicians who focus on diagnosing, treating, and managing cardiovascular conditions like hypertension and arrhythmias.

What is causing the physician shortage?

  1. Shifts in physician and patient populations

There is currently a mass exodus of physicians and a large aging population. About 55% of all of the registered nurses at the moment are 50 years old or older, 52% are active physicians that are 55 or older and are on their way to retirement.

  1. Shortages at rural hospitals

With millennials entering the healthcare market and the boomers retiring, rural hospitals are facing a major physician shortage since the majority of the millennials prefer to work in urban places.

  1. Limits on medical school and residency programs

There are medical school enrollment caps, and it has always been known that their acceptance rates are notoriously low and still remains low. 

As for the residency training, the majority of the residencies are funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, and with the funds that were given to them and the number of facilities they have to fund, the money that is being provided for them is low.

  1. Churn and burnout

With the physician shortage at the moment, it’s a candidate’s market. The providers will be seeking quality engagements with opportunities for growth, competitive benefits, complex cases, manageable workloads, and desired location. 

Keeping these in mind, the 2 greatest concerns of practicing physicians and medical students are compensation and a strong work-life balance. Since the facilities are understaffed, it could lead to physicians burning out and could cause them to go into cognitive overload.

Physician Shortage by State and Numbers of Areas Affected:

  1. California: 626 Areas
  2. Texas: 411 areas
  3. Missouri: 324 areas
  4. Alaska: 301 areas
  5. Florida: 279 areas
  6. Michigan: 261 areas
  7. Illinois: 245 areas
  8. Georgia: 234 areas
  9. Arizona: 217 areas
  10. Washington: 200 areas

Despite the shortage generally being bad news, we could look at this in a brighter light. This could give more opportunities for physicians who are looking for challenging positions or maybe encourage the new generation to go into this field. With physicians being in demand, so are nurses. If you need help, there is always a nursing recruitment agency that could be fit for you and help you provide for your needs.