I recently returned from the AMWA Centennial Conference in Chicago with women physicians. Many of the senior women were those who had been general practitioners (family physicians), pediatricians, and gynecologists/obstetricians, very traditional areas of medical practice for women. Rarely did I find those who had other specialties. Given the way medicine is currently practiced in large groups or those owned by hospital/corporations, it would seem rarer still to find those who would venture into specialties and sub-specialties.
But the younger female medical students seemed to gravitate towards non-traditional female avenues – anesthesiology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, etc. And each of them cited the difficulty in progressing through their residencies with the enormous amount of debt they are and would carry to get to the point of earning a paycheck. They realized their prospects were not those of their mentors who had enjoyed a respectful earning capacity. Even they could see with the reduction in third party compensation and the impact of the need to see more newly-insured patients, their protégées’ ability to make money and pay down their debt was looking somewhat grim. As it has been for many years with the new physicians everywhere.
The good news: more medical colleges are appearing in smaller cities where the need for primary physicians is great. Along with the promise of a job, some of these colleges are promising tuition reimbursement or forgiveness if they practice in the local area.
While this may seem to be an answer of sorts it does not solve the issue of those who would love to practice a sub-specialty but cannot afford to pay for the education they need.
Won’t someone do something about this?!?!