Monday, May 14, 2012

Anesthesiologists Are Happier Than Most. Joy! Joy!

You know I love bringing good news to you guys as it relates to our beloved field of anesthesiology. From its high rankings as one of the best jobs in America to its desirability by medical students as one of the ROAD specialties, I feel it is my duty to spread far and wide (this blog has been read in over ninety countries) the goodness of our special niche.

Now thanks to the good folks at Medscape, they've done a study to document exactly how happy we are. They conducted a survey of over 29,000 physicians and asked them how happy they are and what kind of lifestyle they lead. On the happiness rankings, anesthesiologists came in at #6, tied with Pediatrics. Rheumatologists were ranked #1 in happiness followed by, not surprisingly, Dermatology and Urology. What is surprising is that so called lifestyle/moneyed fields like Plastic Surgery and Gastroenterology came in below average on the happiness scale. Just goes to prove that there are some things money can't buy.

What do anesthesiologists like to do with all their free time away from the hospital? Their list of activities reads like something out of a Conde Nast magazine. The favorite pasttimes of anesthesiologists are exercising, followed by reading (blogs I hope), traveling, cultural events like movies and museums, and wining and dining. Writing a blog somehow didn't make the list so it must be just me.

When do anesthesiologists have all this time for recreational activities? Fortunately for us, we and radiologists far surpass other medical fields in the amount of vacations we treat ourselves. Almost half of anesthesiologists and radiologists spend at least four weeks of vacation per year. By contrast, less than twenty percent of surgeons and internists have that much vacation time.

Where do anesthesiologists like to go when they do all that traveling? The favorite vacation spots are foreign travel, beach vacation, and cruises. That's not surprising to me as we've had partners travel far and wide, from an African safari to Machu Picchu to Antartica. Having decent incomes and vacation times allow for such luxuries.

Are happy people likely to be healthier? According to this self reported survey, yes. Sixty percent of the anesthesiologists say they have a normal BMI of less than 25. Less than 40% admitted to being overweight or obese. That compares to the general American population where over two thirds are overweight or obese. How do we stay so slender and fit? Over half of anesthesiologists say they exercise at least twice a week, with nearly thirty percent of those over age of 40 exercising at least four times a week. Again, we have the time and income to sustain that level of activity. Less than ten percent claim they don't exercise at all.

How do we like to show off our fabulous income and physiques? By parading around in expensive imported cars, of course. While the top two car choices among anesthesiologists are Toyota and Honda, the rest of the top five are BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. Ford, at number six, is the highest ranking domestic car maker on the list. Nissan and Audi follow closely at seven and eight. Among California anesthesiologists, just from personal observation, the domestic car manufacturers would have a hard time even breaking into the top ten. BMW and Mercedes seem to have a lock on our wallets around here.

So is anesthesiology a great field or what? We have more income, better health, and more vacation time than most people in this country, or the world. Can't ask for more than that.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr. ZMD,

    I follow your blog rather closely and am deciding between a career in surgery and anesthesiology as a 3rd year medical student. It's a challenging decision for me.

    I greatly appreciate your writings on the field and I'm very happy to find someone who gives insight into a field many people are thinking about.