Nursing

SDW news brief: National shortage of primary-care physicians

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, February 24, 2012

A national shortage of primary-care physicians has led many medical schools to alter their curricula to increase interest in the preventative care field. The majority of U.S. medical students aspire to careers as specialists, leading to a drop in the number of family physicians at a time when the need for primary-care physicians is growing, according to the Los Angeles Times. Primary care providers typically receive a significantly smaller income and work longer hours than specialists, which the article cites as reasons for the migration of medical students towards specialty fields.

To boost interest in community medicine, the federal government has allocated resources toward recruiting, training, and reimbursing primary-care providers. Medical schools such as the University of Southern California are adding programs that encourage students to spend an extended period of time working in community health clinics, establishing relationships with patients. According to the article, a shortage in preventative-care physicians will contribute to costlier specialist treatment and an increase in overall healthcare costs.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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