One-third of physicians would consider government practice jobs

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Despite recent controversies surrounding wait time and staffing issues among hospitals run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a significant minority of physicians (36 percent) surveyed by the Medicus Firm said they would be "very likely" to consider a government-employed practice opportunity. What's more, among physicians who would consider government practice jobs, the VA was their top choice of setting, beating out military jobs, corrections and "other," according to the survey, which the agency will release today.

Previous surveys from the Medicus Firm have revealed that very few physicians select government employment as their first choice of practice setting. But given the trend of more physicians eschewing private practice, as FiercePracticeManagement has reported, government employment may offer the work-life balance that physicians increasingly crave, noted a column from Forbes. Thus, Medicus researchers sought to learn more about the factors that matter to physicians when considering government employment.

Interestingly, physicians currently employed by the government or who graduated from American medical schools had less favorable views toward government practice than those working elsewhere or trained in other countries. In particular, American medical graduate physicians were much more concerned about staffing issues (55 percent) and compensation (71 percent) in government settings than international medical graduate (IMG) physicians, according to the report. Only 26 percent of IMG physicians selected staffing concerns as a potential detractor employment, while 56 percent selected compensation as a negative.

Out of the 429 survey respondents, one-third took the time to write essay-form comments. The volume and nature of the comments, according to researchers, illustrates the strong opposing viewpoints held by physicians about government employment. While physicians praised government jobs as a great way to simply practice medicine without the administrative or financial burdens of private practice, for example, criticisms pointed to an overabundance of bureaucracy and lack of physician support from administrators. In addition, numerous commenters wrote that they'd attempted to apply for government jobs but took other opportunities while awaiting response.

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