Dr. Abelson, who also chairs the ACR’s Committee on Training and Workforce Issues, thinks this may be related to the unknowns of healthcare’s future.
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“I would be more concerned if this continues for five years or more,” she said. “For now, I think this more of a reflection of not knowing what the future holds than with the profession itself.”
Happier After Hours
Despite the apparent concerns in their professional lives, rheumatologists appear to be doing very well outside the office. The Lifestyle survey suggests those treating rheumatologic conditions are among the happiest physicians when the working day is done.
The survey asked physicians to rate their happiness in “civilian” life on a scale of 1 to 5-the higher the score the happier the doctor. Rheumatologists had an average score of 4.09, the highest among all specialties. As a group, physicians’ average score was “on the cheerful side” according to the authors, at 3.96. Three-quarters of the rheumatologists who responded rated themselves either “pretty” or “very happy” with their life after the office closed.
“I think there are a lot of wonderful things about being a rheumatologist,” said Dr. Abelson. “We have the unique privilege of partnering with patients in the care of complex diseases. We have the benefits of newer therapies allowing us to have an impact on patients in a positive way.”
Kurt Ullman is a freelance writer based in Indiana.