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A Raised Hand: Internal Medicine in America, An Endangered Species?

Posted by Anonymous at 7/31/2013 8:11:39 AM

Internal Medicine in America, An Endangered Species?


Internal Medicine in America, An Endangered Species? 


by Kurt Mosley 


While recently presenting at the Georgia Hospital Associations’ Summer Conference, an audience member stated that while Family Medicine Specialists are getting more and more difficult to recruit, Internal Medicine Specialists practicing General Internal Medicine are next to impossible to find. An article in Reuters titled “Most Internists Don’t Plan to Stay in Primary Care” highlighted some of the reasons why general internists may become an endangered species. The report discussed that many students graduate from medical school hoping to be primary care physicians but realize during their residency that specialties like cardiology and pulmonology are more lucrative. In the report, slightly less than 22% of the residents stated they would become a general internist, an ominous number in light of the coming primary care shortage in the United States.

Our general internists are tasked with the important role of caring for our geriatric and critical care patients. Because we are now living longer than ever in the United States, the number of critical care patients continues to grow. General Internists are the key to improving care as well as controlling the ever rising costs of these patients and the implementation of health care reform. Simply training more internal medicine specialists may be problematic due to current trends, but we have to incentivize and find ways to keep our current and future General Internists in their role. One simple solution may be to simply pay more to general internal medical physicians. 

Correcting the entire primary care shortage is going to require changes across the entire medical system. How else can we entice residents to work as general internists rather than other specialties?


/uploadedImages/MerrittHawkins/Images/A Raised Hand-Resized(1).jpg  A Raised Hand will address the questions and concerns of healthcare facilities on emerging trends and offer practical solutions to some of the most pressing staffing challenges today. Kurt Mosley, Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Merritt Hawkins, an AMN Healthcare company, is nationally recognized as a leading authority on a wide range of health care staffing issues and trends. 

A nationally noted speaker and frequently cited expert, Mr. Mosley has addressed dozens of state hospital associations and other health professional groups across the country.  He can be reached at or you can follow his updates on Twitter at @kurt_mosley.

Photo Credit: Think Stock Images


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