Off the clock

How happy are doctors outside of work?

Despite high rates of burnout at work, many physicians are happy at home, a new report finds. Learn which specialties are happiest.

Despite the crisis of burnout and professional dissatisfaction among physicians today, many doctors report being content with their personal lives, according to a new report from Medscape on physician happiness and lifestyle.

5 top takeaways from the report

1. More than three-quarters of doctors say they’re happy outside of work. Medscape surveyed more than 15,000 physicians across more than 29 specialties to create its report. Drilling deeper, 40 percent of doctors are very happy, one-quarter are somewhat happy, and 12 percent are extremely happy.

2. Some specialties are happier than others. Rheumatologists, otolaryngologists and endocrinologists are the happiest at home, while cardiologists, pathologists, infectious disease specialists and neurologists report the lowest levels of outside-of-work happiness.

3. More than three-quarters of doctors also report that being a physician has a positive effect on their self-esteem.

4. However, male physicians report higher self-esteem than female physicians. Over 60 percent of male physicians said their self-esteem was high or very high, compared to less than half of female physicians. Roughly one-third of male physicians reported average self-esteem, while over 40 percent of women reported the same.

5. Physicians offered tips on improving work life. Although this report focused on home-life happiness and lifestyle, several respondents shared steps they’d taken to improve their work lives, and Medscape provided a sampling, including the following:

  • “I concentrate on the clinical side of my job instead of the administrative.”
  • “I started a direct primary care portion of my practice and refused to do irrelevant paperwork for free.”
  • “Say no to unreasonable requests to function as a data-entry clerk.”

For more information, see the full report at Medscape.

Further reading:

Best and worst states for doctor work, life happiness, according to Medscape

Doctors aren’t as satisfied as they used to be. Here’s why.


  1. I don’t know who you’re talking to, perhaps those just starting. I don’t know a single physician who’s happy. I can’t wait to retire.

  2. I retired at age 81 after heart surgery Would have preferred to keep working. Ulrich Bauer, M.D.,FAAAAI, FAAP.;

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