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5 Surprising Facts About the Life of a Doctor

August 30, 2018
Published in: General

Doctor checking a patient's heart

Doctor's hold a revered position in our society. Beyond patient's normal interactions with doctors there are interesting facts about the lives of doctors, that may surprise you. For instance, doctors work an average of 1.5 times more hours per week than the average American. In other words, it would take 54 years to complete the work that a doctor does in 36 years. What does the life of someone so busy look like? Can they sustain healthy friend and family relationships? Here are five unique facts to better explain the mind of the average doctor in today's society.

Reporting for Duty

There are nearly one million doctors in the United States. That's nearly one million people taking the challenge of participating in the vast amount of work hours required of a doctor. Locations including Washington D.C., Massachusetts, and Maryland have the highest number of physicians per civilian population. In addition to this, over one-fourth of all active United States doctors were educated abroad.

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor

Medscape reports the 82% of doctors are in a committed relationship. Of this group, 77% are married, and 5% are living with a partner. Believe it or not, doctors had the lowest divorce rates when compared to nurses, healthcare executives, and lawyers! There is a high probability that doctors will end up marrying another doctor with 21% percent of married physicians reporting that their spouse is also a doctor. However, 26% state that their partner is not a medical doctor, but does work in the healthcare field.

Coping with Stress

Family walking in the parkPhysicians often talk about work-life balance, and a faith practice, hobbies, and outside interests can help. These can also go a long way to overcoming physician burnout. Even physicians can't live by medicine alone. When it comes to coping with stress, religion and faith may play the largest role. Seventy-three percent of doctors report having religious or spiritual beliefs. Of this group, 76% agree that their beliefs help them to cope with the stress of their profession.

No One is an Island

There’s a ring of truth to the classic Beatles lyric, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” However, long hours at work, demanding caseloads, and stress can make it hard for doctors to maintain friendships. Unfortunately, some doctors struggle to find support from consistent friendships. This is a particular a challenge because 47% of doctors claim to only have one to three close friends and 4% claim to have no close friends.

Doctors Despise Trampolines!

Two girls jumping on a trampolineEmergency room (ER) doctors see various injuries from different causes. However, with as many as 92,000 ER visits annually, trampolines are a leading cause of injury and even death for children under the age of fourteen. "We see a lot of serious trampoline injuries…upper-body fractures, broken femurs, neck injuries. That's why most ER doctors I work with won't buy trampolines for their kids," said Ferdinando Mirarchi MD, medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "They're all trouble. There's no good kind. Unfortunately, parents get a false sense of reassurance; when there's a net around something, they think their kids will be safe."

Doctors may have a revered position in our society, but it’s important to remember that doctors are human too. These dedicated professionals need outlets for stress, time for outside interests, and support from relationships just like anyone else. Hats off to the men and women who contribute so much of their lives to helping others!