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4 Reasons Your Professional Well-Being Will Need Prioritized in 2024

Jan 03, 2024

#1 Support Staff Shortages

Short staffing in all support roles is everywhere, forcing everyone on deck to work significantly harder to get through each shift.

This was a key stressor in 2023 with no end in sight. The most affected specialty was probably Emergency Medicine, where nursing shortages are not allowing the hospitals to open all wings. Patients are routinely backed up into ER waiting rooms with dozens treated in back hallways every day in many locations. Outpatient physicians are also struggling without MAs and receptionists, rooming patients on their own and being hounded to keep up with RVU quotas.


#2 Boomer Docs and Nurses Retirement Cliff

The retirement cliff gets closer every day, as 45% of physicians are 55 and over. A survey of nurses in 2022 found the median age of RNs was 52 years old with nurses aged 65 years or older accounting for 19% of the RN workforce. Both the physician and nurse workforce will be dramatically downsized in the years between now and 2030.

In short there are 4 reasons doctors of all ages are retiring earlier:

  1. Aging Physician Population: As of recent years, there has been a notable increase in the average age of physicians. Many doctors from the baby boomer generation are reaching retirement age, leading to a significant rise in the number of physicians considering retirement.

  2. Burnout and Work-Life Balance: Burnout and concerns about work-life balance have been major factors influencing physicians' decisions to retire. The demanding nature of the medical profession, coupled with administrative burdens, has prompted some physicians to retire earlier than they might have in the past.

  3. Pandemic Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an additional strain on healthcare professionals. Frontline workers, including physicians, faced unprecedented challenges, leading to increased stress and exhaustion. This has accelerated retirement decisions for some physicians.

  4. Shifts in Work Preferences: Younger physicians are often seeking alternative work arrangements, such as part-time positions or locum tenens work, to achieve a better work-life balance. This shift in preferences could contribute to an overall decrease in the number of full-time practicing physicians.


#3 Corporitization & Burnout Continues

The take over of medicine by corporations only grows as they buy out and eliminate small business competition (you). Yet the burden of being a corporate commodity rather than an autonomous healthcare professional only intensifies the burnout epidemic. This tension leads to many of you recognizing the need for a personal and professional change. But to really regain and preserve your professional autonomy, it involves more than a job change—it involves a mindset change. You must pro-actively manage your future and that best happens through personal incorporation as a professional micro-business.


#4 Physician Reimbursement Cuts

Medical care revenue continues to drop in 2024, the healthcare landscape witnessed a significant paradigm shift with reimbursement cuts, presenting a formidable challenge for doctors across various specialties. These cuts, driven by evolving healthcare policies and economic considerations, have left a palpable impact on physicians' financial sustainability.

Amidst the complexity of these reductions, doctors are grappling with diminished reimbursement rates, affecting their ability to maintain the quality and accessibility of patient care. The cuts are often multifaceted, encompassing reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, private insurance adjustments, and changes in fee-for-service structures. Consequently, physicians find themselves navigating a delicate balance between delivering high-quality healthcare and managing the economic viability of their practices.

The repercussions extend beyond individual practitioners to encompass the broader healthcare ecosystem, with potential implications for patient access to services and the overall quality of care..


With all of these changes, I believe it is more important than ever for you to pro-actively combat your risk for burnout. I love Dr. Mike Drummond’s resources, including his blog Stop Physician Burnout: TheHappiest Doctors Build this Venn Diagram. You should check it out.

The other critical step that you should take to help yourself thrive as you focus on your well-being is to form a professional corporation. This micro-business structure will help preserve your professional autonomy like nothing else. Check out my personal story in my best-selling book “Doctor Incorporated: Stop The Insanity of Traditional Employment and Preserve Your Professional Autonomy

Some of you may even be looking for a career change and shift to doing more locums work. I encourage you to reach out my friend Louis Irizarry with Hayes Locums to check into getting started with them. Tell him Tod with SimpliMD sent you.