Factors Influencing Pediatrician Retirement: A Survey of American Academy of Pediatrics Chapter Members

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the factors that may influence physicians' desire to retire through an analysis of data collected through the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) State Pediatrician Workforce Survey.

Study design

An electronic survey was sent to retired and nonretired US pediatricians who held AAP membership. The respondents were asked about the importance of 12 factors that would influence or had influenced their decision to retire. The physicians who were not yet retired also were asked: “If you could afford to today, would you retire from medicine?”

Results

The survey was completed by 8867 pediatricians. Among the nonretired respondents, 27% reported that they would retire today if it were affordable. Increasing regulation of medicine, decreasing clinical autonomy, and insufficient reimbursement were rated as very important factors by >50% of these pediatricians. Among retired pediatricians, 26.9% identified the effort to keep up with clinical advances and changes in practice as a very important factor in their decision to retire. Younger physicians were significantly more likely to rate maintenance of certification requirements, insufficient reimbursement, lack of professional satisfaction, and family responsibilities as very important factors. Rural pediatricians were more interested in retiring than those working in academic settings. There were no sex differences.

Conclusions

Twenty-seven percent of pediatricians in practice today would retire today if it were affordable. Identifying and addressing the important factors that influence a pediatrician's desire to retire can potentially reduce the retirement rate of pediatricians and thus increase access to care for children.

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