Data and stats on the physician job field

Hunter Frint


Medical Students Internationally

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) the top three countries producing graduates from medical schools in the most recent studies from 2013 are Ireland, Denmark and Australia.Data and Stats pic

Ireland takes a staggering lead with 20.3 percent of medical graduates per 100,000 inhabitants. Denmark came in second with 18.4 percent and Australia’s 15.4 percent put it at third place.

OECD displayed information from 31 countries with the country producing the lowest percentage of medical school graduates from the 31 being Israel at 5.1 percent. This percentage shows that Israel produced 5,100 medical students in 2013.

In countries such as Ireland and the Czech Republic, a large share of graduates is made up of  foreign students who may return home upon graduation. Graduation rates were the lowest in Israel, Chile, Japan, Turkey and the United States. The average across OECD countries was close to 10 new medical graduates per 100,000 population.

Medical Students in the U.S.

According to the same data from OECD, the United States ranked at 27 out of the 31 countries for medical graduates in 2013. Approximately 7,300 students graduated from Medical school in the United States that year. That is not even close to Ireland’s 20,300 graduates that year. Some other countries that ranked above the United States include neighboring Mexico and European countries Estonia, Latvia and Norway.

While The United States still ranks rather low in comparison to other countries, the medical field and careers added are on the rise. New research shows U.S. medical school enrollment has grown 25 percent in the past 14 years. It is projected to reach the 30 percent growth goal by 2017-2018 that was set by the Association of American Medical Colleges years before. Enrollment in medical schools is predicted to reach 21,434 students next year. This goal was set by the AAMC in reaction to a shortage of physicians seen in the United States.

“Our nation’s medical schools have stepped up to meet the challenge the AAMC put before them in 2006,” AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, MD, said in a statement to Becker’s Hospital Review. “They understand the integral role they play in meeting the future health workforce needs of this country which, according to our latest data, will now require up to an additional 94,700 physicians by 2025.”

There are many open positions in the medical field waiting to be filled by new physicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry added 44,200 jobs last month. Over the last year healthcare has added 502,000 jobs.

Psychiatric Physician Shortage

One field that is really seeing the shortage of physicians is psychiatry. The shortage in the United States is due to maldistribution and aging of its 30,088 psychiatric physicians. According to the American Medical Association in 2015, 59 percent of the nation’s psychiatrists are 55 years old or older. Approximately 48 percent are 60 years old or older. Many are expected to retire in the next five years.

“Psychiatrists are aging out of practice at a time when demand for their services is spiking,” Travis Singleton, senior vice president of Merritt Hawkins, said in a news release. “Mental health is a topic that the health system and patients themselves often avoid. For that reason, psychiatry can be considered the ‘silent shortage,’ even though shortages in psychiatry may be even more acute than they are in primary care.”

Maldistribution of psychiatrists in the United States is due to the large number of physicians who are drawn to urban areas and major cities. There is shortage of psychiatrists in rural areas or smaller cities where mental illness is just as prevalent.

Psychiatric physician shortage is not just an issue in the United States, but also worldwide. Approximately 50 percent of the world’s population lives in a nation where less than one psychiatrist practices per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Atlas 2014. Also, WHO reports that less than $2 per capita is spent a year on mental health in low-income countries.

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