Young docs ditch primary care for hospital jobs

The hospitalist specialty continues to expand, driven by young physicians who increasingly are choosing hospital employment and the high salaries and stable schedules it offers, The Atlantic reported.

A starting hospitalist earns around $200,000 a year, while their office-based counterparts bring in about $150,000. Moreover, hospitalists earn those salaries by usually working seven days in a row, then having seven days off.

The fact that hospitals offer shift work, meaning no on-call or after-hour duties, makes hospital employment even more attractive to physicians who are parents or holding down multiple jobs, according to the article.

And the hospitals appreciate having hospitalists on staff, especially the efficiency, improved patient satisfaction and shorter lengths-of-stay they bring to the organizations, noted the article.

In fact, a Journal of Hospital Medicine study published last month found that patients reported similar satisfaction scores for hospital care provided by hospitalists and primary care physicians.

The physician migration to the hospital setting is nothing new with recent statistics from the American Hospital Association showing hospitals' physician employment jumped 32 percent from 2000 to roughly 212,000 physicians in 2010.

To learn more:
- read The Atlantic article
- here's the study abstract