Most oncologists believe their career choice was a good one, survey finds

August 6, 2009

Oncologists remain largely satisfied with their career choice, with 85% expressing satisfaction and 82% of that group saying they would recommend their specialty to a medical student, according to a survey conducted by Epocrates, a provider of online clinical decision support tools for mobile and desktop devices.

Oncologists remain largely satisfied with their career choice, with 85% expressing satisfaction and 82% of that group saying they would recommend their specialty to a medical student, according to a survey conducted by Epocrates, a provider of online clinical decision support tools for mobile and desktop devices.

Epocrates conducted the survey in April. Oncologists made up slightly less than 10% of the 2075 specialists sampled by the company. The sample was drawn at random from a list of specialists who use Epocrates software.

Oncology ranked just above the middle of the pack for career satisfaction in the Epocrates survey, falling behind gastroenterology (91%), cardiology (89%), and rheumatology (86%), but ahead of psychiatry (84%), endocrinology (80%), primary care (60%), and ob/gyn (57%). Epocrates conducted a similar survey in 2007 and all of the specialties gained in career satisfaction rankings with oncology increasing 2%.

As with the career satisfaction rankings, oncologists were fourth among those who would recommend their specialty to medical students, behind gastroenterology, cardiology, and rheumatology, but ahead of psychiatry, endocrinology, primary care, and ob/gyn.

The survey also asked about patient visits during the economic downturn of the prior six to nine months and found that 30% of specialists have seen patient visits decline. An exception was psychiatry, where 30% of respondents reported patient visits were up. In oncology, 25% reported a decline in patient visits and 16% reported an increase.

Slightly more than half of the oncologists answered a question about electronic medical record use, with 59% saying they use such systems.

The Epocrates platforms used by the oncology sample were iPhone/iPod Touch (37%), Palm Smartphone (25%), Palm Stand Alone (22%), BlackBerry (10%), Windows/PPC (6%), and Windows Smartphone (4%). Total exceeds 100% due to rounding.

Mr. Hayes is editorial director for Oncology News International