Unlike practicing physicians of today, the physicians of tomorrow are extremely positive about the future of medicine, with some 93 percent saying they are very or somewhat optimistic. A solid majority (65 percent), see the state of the medical profession on the right track according to the 2013 National Survey of Future Medical Leaders, a first-ever survey of honor high school students who want to be physicians.
These results fly in the face of results of countless surveys of physicians who feel burned out, underpaid and ill prepared to face the future of medicine. More than half of today’s physicians wouldn’t even choose the medical profession if they had a chance to start over.
This first of its kind, the 2013 National Survey of Future Medical Leaders was conducted in June 2013 of 6,000 current high school students nationwide with GPAs of 3.5 or better with plans to pursue medical careers by the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists and myCollegeOptions.org.
This Generation Z, the supposedly lazy and unaware teens of today, is going into medicine for the right reasons; they want the doctor-patient relationships (74 percent) and not job security (14.2 percent) or the prestige of being a physician (15 percent). Even the challenges of medical school aren’t scaring them off; they don’t fear losing direction (just 4 percent) or the rigors of medical studies (10 percent).
“It’s our obligation to mentor our future medical leaders so they know what tomorrow holds for medicine,” stated Connie Mariano, M.D., F.A.C.P., Medical Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. “The stakes are too high to let these young medical leaders get off track.”
One disturbing survey finding, however, is that nearly a third (28 percent) don’t know the effects of ObamaCare on the future of medicine. Even when these high-achieving future medical leaders have a close family friend who is a physician, more than half (51 percent) don’t know the perceived effects of ObamaCare.
Apparently they have not heard the siren call for more primary care doctors to fill the expected upcoming shortage. Even after the barrage of news about ObamaCare, the vast majority (88 percent) have not considered changing their goals in medicine: fewer than 7 percent want to go into primary care medicine, with the two favorite specialties of future docs being pediatrics (18 percent) and surgery (17 percent).
“This optimism of youth must be nurtured so these future physicians grow into caring and capable doctors,” continued Dr. Mariano, “ones who can integrate the amazing emerging medical technologies, therapies and medicines.”
(The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists)