Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life and Other Findings


Every year Medscape releases the Physician Lifestyle & Happiness report. The report analyzes the quality of life and unique routines of physicians, and it lets you compare your own lifestyle habits and choices to others working in your specialty. As explained by Medscape, the report provides “insight from over 15,000 US physicians from more than 29 specialties, on various aspects of their personal and professional lives.” Since you have to be a member of Medscape to see the full report – it’s lengthy – I thought I’d break down for you some of the most interesting points I found from the data. Let’s delve into medical specialties with the best quality of life and other findings from the 2019 report!

Overall, Doctors are Pretty Happy

Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life

First, the study explores whether physicians are happy outside of work. No matter what specialty you work in, the job of a physician comes with a lot of pressure and stress. In fact, there are many stats out there on just how unhappy physicians are and how prevalent depression is in this profession. Yet, Medscape found that the majority of doctors surveyed (40 percent) say that they are very happy. However, only 12 percent went so far as to say they were extremely happy. A tiny three percent admitted to being extremely unhappy.

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Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life Outside of Work

When you break down which physicians are happiest by specialty, things get a little interesting. None of the top specialties for this year match the top specialties of last year. This year, the happiest doctors work in rheumatology, otolaryngology, and diabetes. However, when you compare last year’s report to this year’s report, overall, emergency medicine doctors are most consistently happy. They were one of the top five happiest doctors in 2018, and this year they rolled in close, at number seven.

Medical Specialists with the Highest Self-Esteem

Apparently, some doctors have higher self-esteem than others. When you compare male to female doctors, men tend to have higher self-esteem than women on average. However, a psychologist interviewed by Medscape hinted that these results could be because women are more likely to admit insecurities than men. When it comes to specialty, those in plastic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, and diabetes have the highest self-esteem.

Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life: Internet Use

Not surprising were the results of how much time physicians spend online. They spend just as much time online at work than they do when they’re not at work. In fact, physicians are on the internet way less than the rest of America.

Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life: Relationship Status

Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. What did physicians have to say about their love lives? Only one percent preferred not to answer. The rest were pretty open to talk about it. That’s probably because the majority of the physicians are married – 81 percent. And more than half of them claim that they are happily married. 18 percent of the married physicians are actually married to other physicians, and 27 percent are married to someone who also works in healthcare. Aside from the married doctors, the second largest category is the single folks – seven percent. The rest are living with someone, divorced, or widowed.

Medical Specialties with the Best Quality of Life: Healthy Habits

So, overall, we learned that physicians are pretty happy and confident. They’re not online very much, and they’re happily married. The last categories of the report are health-related topics. Here we learn that most physicians either don’t drink at all or have less than one drink per week. Most of them really want to lose weight, and they’re exercising two or three times a week.

Physicians… do you think your answers would match what was found in this report? Comment below!

Author: Lenay Ruhl

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