Hospital Employment Rising, But Changing

Oct 12, 2011, 3:00 PM, Posted by

The Bureau of Labor Statistics national employment numbers for September show continued expansion in the health care industry, with an additional 44,000 health care jobs. That includes 26,000 in ambulatory health care services and 13,300 in hospitals.

A survey released by health care staffing company Merritt Hawkins & Associates [registration required] suggests that hospital employment may continue to rise, in part because new physicians increasingly prefer working in a hospital to solo private practice. The survey finds that 32 percent of final-year medical residents say they would like to be employed by a hospital, up 10 percent since the 2008 survey.

Part of the reason for the growing trend may be that physicians report feeling unprepared to handle the business side of medicine (48 percent). “The days of new doctors hanging out a shingle in an independent solo practice are over,” Merritt Hawkins founder James Merritt said in a news release. “Most new doctors prefer to be employed and let a hospital or medical group handle the business end of medical practice.”

Those medical students who do want to work in their own practices, once they graduate, say that partnering with another physician is their preferred approach. Fully 28 percent of the surveyed students opted for such a partnership, while only 1 percent said they would prefer to work in a solo practice.

What do you think? Is working in a hospital more desirable than private practice? Register below to leave a comment.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.