Residents question why they make less than others with less training

Male and female residents are earning comparable annual salaries--that’s $57,000 and $56,000, respectively, according to a recent resident salary and debt report.

That’s the good news. While about 50 percent of residents are content with the salaries they’re earning, some question why they’re taking home less pay than nurse practitioners and physician assistants, in addition to non-medical professionals, who have less training, according to the Medscape survey.

Here are some additional findings from the report:

Geographic differences with resident compensation. Residents in the Northeast earn a high of $63,000 a year, whereas residents in the Southeast take home $53,000. Still, the report highlights that this regional disparity in take-home pay flips for physicians once they enter practice. At $266,000, physicians in the Northeast earned the lowest salaries, while doctors in the North Central area of the country had annual salaries of $296,000.

Slight decline in perception of fairness with compensation. Fifty-two percent of men and 55 percent of women in residency programs reported that they feel fairly compensated; this is a decline from 2015, when 60 percent and 65 percent of men and women, respectively, reported being fairly compensated.

Anticipated earnings influences specialty choice. Thirty-six percent of residents reported that compensation was extremely important or very influential in their choice of specialty; fifty-six percent said it was a factor in their decision-making process.

Relatively small numbers of residents complain about too much “scut work.” While 14 percent of residents complain that they’re assigned an excessive amount of menial work such as chasing down radiology reports and drawing blood, 51 percent reported they’re only required to do a moderate amount of such work. Some residents fare even better: Thirty-four percent said they’re asked to do little to no scut work.

Residents play a crucial role in the healthcare system, but the general public has many misconceptions about that role, according to Boluwaji Ogunyemi, M.D., a resident specializing in dermatology at the University of British Columbia, in a previous FiercePracticeManagement report.

- read the report