Our latest survey paints a picture of ob/gyns simultaneously dedicated to their profession and increasingly frustrated by external stressors.
For the third year in a row, Contemporary OB/GYN asked you, our readers, to tell us how you feel about your practice and the specialty in general. By the end of 2017, we received several hundred responses to our Labor Force Survey and, once again, your responses illustrate a continued divide in our specialty – not between obstetrics and gynecology but between those who love their work in spite of challenges and those who say that the challenges they face have robbed them of the joy they used to feel in their practice.
Consistent with previous years, over half said that they would still choose to specialize in ob/gyn if they had to make the choice again, and approximately the same number reported that they felt satisfied or extremely satisfied with their current job situation. But only 9% told us that their overall stress levels had decreased this year, and we noted that ongoing stress levels are a factor that unhappy ob/gyns usually cite as a source of their frustration.
We heard the words “insurance” and “medical/hospital corporations” many times, in many different contexts in the survey. Respondents continue to be aggravated at what they perceive to be interference from insurance companies and corporations when the care they want to give to patients is not always in line with what the for-profit industry is willing to support. The frustrating healthcare debates in Washington also add to the aggravation that many respondents are feeling.
A small number of this year’s responses continue to point to a gender disparity that we have documented in previous years. Some women said frankly that they chose ob/gyn because they didn’t want to work with men. At the same time, male practitioners reported feeling unwelcome when interacting with women peers. They also openly wondered if they would have a place in the profession going forward, which may be a legitimate concern if, according to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists projection, two-thirds of ob/gyns will be women by 2022.1