What are the most Satisfying Medical Professions?

What are the most Satisfying Medical Professions?

Medicine is so much more than a career - it’s a calling and an essential field that saves lives and improves the overall health of society. Despite this, not all specialists are fully satisfied with their daily work. 

Choosing the right medical specialisation is essential if you’re planning to spend several decades in the profession, and by the time you’ve specialised it’s often too late to change your mind. In this article, we take a look at the medical professions with the highest reported job satisfaction ratings - let’s find out which doctors are the happiest.

Medical Specialties with the Highest Satisfaction

When it comes to job satisfaction, lifestyle-related specialisations with their lower-stress environments and regular hours, appear to win out over surgery in the UK - as the results of a recent survey indicate. 

According to the 2016 GMC Survey, which collected opinions from core and specialist doctors across the UK, the specialities with the highest job satisfaction are Ophthalmology, Clinical Radiology, Anaesthetics, and ENT specialists. General Practitioners reported the highest job satisfaction of any category. 

Of the top-rated specialities for job satisfaction, workloads were shown to vary - but this didn’t prevent GPs from having the great job satisfaction, despite their high weekly workload. And services like Topdoctors allow private practitioners to have even more control over their workload as well.

Ophthalmologists, who scored second-highest on job satisfaction, also had the second-lightest workload - making this a speciality for doctors with family commitments and interests outside the hospital. Radiologists were just behind Ophthalmologists in the job satisfaction survey, despite having the biggest workload of all. 

ENTs had the lightest workload overall but also scored slightly lower on job satisfaction than the other specialists in the top five. 

Surgical Medical Specialities

With lifestyle-related specialisations topping the job satisfaction list, where does this leave surgeons? According to the survey results, surgery specialists ranked consistently lower on job satisfaction, despite having smaller workloads than their clinical peers. 

T&O surgeons and plastic surgeons reported the highest job satisfaction, with general surgeons reporting the lowest job satisfaction in the category. Plastic surgeons had the lowest weekly workload of all surgeons surveyed, with the second-highest job satisfaction, making this specialisation the most balanced option. 

The medical profession with the lowest reported job satisfaction was Acute Internal Medicine, with General Medicine and O&G taking second- and third-lowest places. Lighter weekly workloads than other specialisations didn’t seem to compensate for a lack of job satisfaction in these medical professionals.

The survey results illustrate a trend that many medical students will have noticed through their studies and practical experience during hospital training. While surgery is an essential and life-saving medical profession, it often takes its toll on the job satisfaction of those who practice it. 

Unless you have truly found your calling in the ER, you may be well advised to specialise in the less stressful areas of Ophthalmology, Radiology, or ENT. Anaesthetics is another excellent option, which is ideal for doctors who enjoy the surgical environment but prefer a manageable workload.

Whether you are nearing the end of your medical degree or have taken the brave decision to re-specialise, choosing the right medical profession is essential. By taking the opinions and daily experience of doctors across the country into account, you’ll be better able to make the right decision.

George R Vaughan