Moving From General Medical Practice To Academic Medicine

There are many forms of gambling: the slots; roulette; poker and many other card games; and a host of other ways to try your skill against the house. can also be considered a risk in some cases. Some might consider moving from a career in private medical practice to a future in academic medicine as another kind of gamble – but they would be wrong.

A 2013 report showed that rather a lot of physicians in private practice were unhappy in their work. It may be that they should be considering a move to academic medicine. It is not, generally speaking, a move that people make for financial reasons – starting salaries in American academic medicine are around $200,000 mark, and even the head of a large department may fail to reach $300,000, which does not compare well with what private physicians can earn. No; the rewards of academic medicine are not primarily financial – they are to do with job satisfaction.

What academic medicine offers the dissatisfied physician in general practice may be summed up as follows:

 The intellectual stimulus that comes from breaking new ground and meeting new challenges;

 Opportunities to be involved in educating the doctors to whom this generation will pass the baton;

 (For some) involvement in research at the leading edge of medical knowledge.

Despite the reservations expressed above, financial rewards in academic medicine are improving because, without better pay scales, the academic centers are unable to generate the revenue they need. A patient in a teaching hospital will generally speaking be expected to pay more than one being treated for the same complaint elsewhere. That means that the teaching hospitals need to attract the very best, and there is no question (in the West, at any rate) that money plays a big role in providing that attraction. The fact that there is a shortage of doctors at the highest level simply increases the move to better pay.