Dermatologists land at top of national list of most satisfied physicians

July 1, 2012

Dermatologists have the highest level of job satisfaction of 25 medical specialties, according to a national survey conducted by Medscape titled Physician Compensation Report 2012. Dermatologists also are among the better compensated, particularly when their more-varied pattern of hours worked are taken into consideration.

Key Points

National report - Dermatologists have the highest level of job satisfaction of 25 medical specialties, according to a national survey conducted by Medscape titled Physician Compensation Report 2012. Dermatologists also are among the better compensated, particularly when their more-varied pattern of hours worked are taken into consideration.

The doctors to whom Dermatology Times spoke were not surprised that the specialty rated so well, but they were surprised that so many other practitioners are unhappy with their work. Two said it was worth noting that only a third (35 percent) of plastic surgeons would choose medicine again as a career.

For dermatology, 25 percent said their income had declined, 41 percent said it was the same, and 34 percent said it had increased over the previous year.

Says Tina S. Alster, M.D., F.A.A.D., director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, "There was a real hit on the economy a few years back and those of us in cosmetic dermatology dropped 10 to 15 percent. But I work in Washington, D.C., and (the) economy here hasn't been as hard hit as some other places."

But neither factor seems to have affected Helen M. Torok, M.D., medical director of Trillium Creek Dermatology in Medina, Ohio. "Each year my income goes up," she says.

Dr. Torok says she attributes it to renegotiating contracts with insurance carriers every time they expire. "You don't have to take a pay cut. I have clout because I'm the only dermatologist in the county. If you're the only game in town, they have to talk to you," she explains.