(The Hill) — A new report on how medical students view the future of their careers has found that a quarter of aspiring physicians in the U.S. say they are considering quitting their studies, with many expressing concerns about their mental health and how they can find a study-life balance.
The report “Clinician of the Future: Education Edition,” which was released by the health science and journal publisher Elsevier, surveyed 2,212 students from 91 countries between April and May of this year.
“Students are committed to and positive about their education, but with concerns about mental health, study–life balance, combined with external worries such as the rise of misinformation and looming clinician shortages, some are considering quitting their course altogether, while others are thinking about non- patient-facing roles once qualified,” the report stated.
Among the surveyed medical students, 60 percent said they were concerned about their mental health, 69 percent said they were concerned about their income, 63 percent expressed concerns about experiencing burnout and 60 percent were worried about how clinician shortages would affect them.
Overall, 12 percent of medical students around the world said they were considering quitting their studies. Among U.S. students, this percentage more than doubled to 25 percent.
More than half of medical and nursing students — 58 percent — said they viewed their current studies as a stepping stone to careers in health care that don’t involve treating patients.
Tate Erlinger, vice president of clinical analytics at Elsevier, said the reasons students were considering leaving were “variable.”
“There were several things and sort of floated to the top at least that caught my attention. One was sort of the cost and that’s not that’s not limited to the U.S., but the U.S. students are more likely to be worried about the cost of their studies,” Erlinger said.
“I think there’s a common sort of chronic feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of information that they need to obtain,” he added.
Erlinger noted that the high percentage of students considering their studies as stepping stones to administrative and support roles was “surprising” as those sorts of decisions are typically seen later in their careers.