Primary care doctor numbers headed in the wrong direction

Not that this is really new news, but an Associated Press article reports that 2 percent of graduating med school students say they are going to work in primary care internal medicine--down 7 percent since 1990. That number was extracted from a survey of nearly 1,200 fourth year students.

Among the many reasons for the lower number? Too much work and, maybe more telling, money. According to Jason Shipman, a resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, primary care physicians he knew had to "speed to see enough patients to make a reasonable living." Not to mention that the average student debt for graduates in 2007 was $140,000 according to the American College of Physicians. Couple that with the fact that while the average salary last year for someone heading into family medicine was $186,000, while someone heading into orthopedics made $436,000 a year, and it's not hard to figure out why the numbers are down.

Still, the Journal of the American Medical Association points out that while the number of U.S. doctors has gone down--2,600 fewer in 2007 compared with 2002--international med school graduates in that field over the same time span have risen by 3,300.

For more:
- check out the AP article