06 Nov Is your doctor happy?
Can Doctors Be Happy? Part 1
by Richard O’Connor, MSW, Ph.D.
November 5, 2008
I don”t think I know any doctors who are happy in their work.
Time magazine tells us that 44 percent of physicians say they are “very happy,” a significant difference from the 67 percent of clergy who say they are happy. Doctors are right down there with lawyers, accountants, and dentists. But I have a hard time believing that 44 percent anyway. I”m a psychologist, and I know a lot of doctors, many of whom are making plans to leave the profession ASAP.
Some of this is a reflection of world-wide trends. Though physicians generally make a decent income, in the last few years there’s been an increasing recognition – and good research evidence – that advances in personal prosperity may actually lead to unhappiness. In fact, in the United States and Europe, over the fifty years since scientists started measuring personal happiness reliably, people report that they are less and less happy every year, although personal wealth continues to increase. As other nations become more Westernized, and prosperity spreads around the globe, happiness declines as well. At the same time, psychology has for the first time begun to look into what really does make us happy. Unfortunately for physicians, the news is not all good. There’s a lot that accompanies the medical profession that science can now prove will add unnecessary misery; but now we”re beginning to understand what we can do about that.
To read more about doctors and happiness – click here