Do psychiatrists feel fairly compensated?
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
As Labor Day 2022 approaches after The Great Resignation of jobs in 2021, there seems to be growing labor unrest in human health and educational services. As we discussed last week, the mental health care workers other than psychiatrists are on strike for Kaiser Northern California. Teachers in Columbus, Ohio went on strike on the first day of school. Maternity and paternity leave is being cut back. Anthony S. Fauci, MD, announced his retirement come December.
What about psychiatrists? Perhaps the just released annual compensation report by Medscape conveys how we are faring as our country seems to be combining out of the pandemic. Here are some of the highlights from my perspective:
-Psychiatrist income rose about 4%, though that is toward the bottom of the list of specialties and less than half of that of plastic surgery.
-However, psychiatrists are near the top in feeling fairly compensated.
-Income disparity was 23% in favor of men.
-Psychiatrists spend an average of 15.7 hours each week on paperwork and administration.
-The most difficult perceived aspects of our work are rules, regulations, and dealing with difficult patients.
-Making the world a better place is now at the top of the list of rewarding aspects of our work.
Despite the usual limitations of the Medscape annual surveys—a very brief online survey and very small sample sizes especially—the results seem to paint a relatively clear picture on the current satisfaction of being a psychiatrist. Compensation is well above what is needed for basic needs and happiness, although comparison to other specialties falls short, as does compensation for women compared to men.
Nevertheless, overall, psychiatrists feel well compensated and rewarded by making the world a better place. Stigma was not mentioned as a concern. However, there is still significant frustration with paperwork and regulations.
How all of this information will play out in upcoming surveys on psychiatrist burnout remains to be seen, but for now there seems to be reasonable optimism as we come out of the unique stress of the pandemic workplace. Indeed, perhaps overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, including telepsychiatry to the rescue, made our careers feel ever more worthwhile.
Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.
1. Medscape’s 2022 physician compensation report. PR Newswire. April 15, 2022. Accessed August 25, 2022. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/medscapes-2022-physician-compensation-report-physician-salary-rebound-but-gender-and-racial-gaps-persist-301526112.html