Doctors, also referred to as physicians, are responsible for diagnosing and treating the injuries or illnesses to improve the health of their patients. Physicians are typically responsible for taking a patient’s medical history, updating patient information charts, ordering tests for nurses, reviewing test results, designing treatment plans, and discussing health topics/questions with patients.
There are several specialties for doctors, including anesthesiologists, family and general practitioners, general internists, pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, psychiatrists, and surgeons.
How much do doctors make? While the average physician salary fluctuates dramatically between the various specialties in the field, it still remains that doctors are within one of the highest paid occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, family and general practitioners earn a mean annual salary of $180,850, or a mean hourly wage of $86.95. General practitioners that find employment within medical diagnostic laboratories tend to make the most, with an annual salary of $238,270.
Pediatricians, who specialize in providing treatment and care to children, earn an average salary of $167,640 each year, which equals a mean hourly wage of $80.59. Doctors that specialize in the female reproductive system and pregnancy, called obstetricians and gynecologists, make an annual salary of $216,760 on average and a mean hourly wage that tops out at $104.21. Among the highest paid medical doctors are surgeons, who earn an amazing average $230,540 each year for performing invasive and non-invasive surgical procedures.
With all specialty fields combined, there are an estimated 691,000 jobs in the medical field for doctors. Most physicians work within private doctor offices, clinics, group practices, health care organizations, and hospitals. Due to increased levels of diagnostic tests, an aging baby boomer population, and advancements in technology, the demand for doctors will continue to rise. Employment of physicians is expected to grow by a faster than average rate of 24 percent between 2010 and 2020.
Doctors are often helped by a small or large staff of other medical personnel, including nurses, specialists, and administrative support members. However, most physicians still work long and irregular hours that go above and beyond the typical 40-hour work week. While on call, doctors may need to address a patient’s needs over the phone or make an emergency visit, even in the middle of the night. Although most doctors are employed within one work setting, they may need to travel between their office and various hospitals to provide needed care to patients.
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