My Generation

Rick Johnson, for HealthLeaders News , November 29, 2007

I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to talk to a number of physician leaders and administrators from hospitals and medical groups. Frequently, the positions of hospital managers and physician leaders are at odds, but one thing they've been agreeing on lately is the general lower quality of the newer Generation X and Y physicians.

Here are just a few of the common complaints I've heard:

Inferior training: I spoke with a physician-owner of a mid-sized group practice not long ago. He griped that it was difficult to find good doctors today. Caps on residency hours, he said, have made younger physicians soft.

Poor work ethic: Generation X and Y docs prefer shift work--and most don't want anything to do with running a practice. If they are part of the voluntary medical staff at a hospital, they want to get paid for taking ED call--but better yet, don't call them. They are more inclined to embrace hospital employment that affords them a steady paycheck and normal work hours.

Disloyal: This transient group expects to change jobs often in their medical careers. So they are less interested in developing relationships with administrators or taking leadership positions.

In sum, my sources paint a picture in which there are fewer physicians to go around, and the ones we have are not as good as those baby boomers who are approaching retirement.

Now, before I get inundated with e-mail retorts, let me be clear: These are not my opinions. I'm a Gen Xer myself, and I see nothing wrong with work-life balance, regardless of one's chosen profession.

In fact, I'd be happy to hear from you Gen-X-and-Y physicians out there about whether this is an accurate picture of how you approach your careers--but given what I'm told, you probably lack the motivation to write.

Rick Johnson is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media. He can be reached at

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