Making a living in health care


(revised on 12/29/2015, new info underlined)

Previously I wrote about physician salaries after Medscape magazine reported the annual physician salary survey.  In it I explained  how doctors are paid and  where other  health care dollars  go. It became one of my most viewed posts.

My fellow physician blogger Dr. Kristen Prentis Ott has compiled a report detailing how people  make a living in health care. The report lists the earnings of different physician specialties , and other  healthcare professionals, including nurses and the length of training required by each job. You may not have  personal friends who are MDs or DOs but I bet someone in your family or social circle works in another of these  professions.


cropped logos final (2)


Before you read Dr. Ott’s piece, I’ll explain about doctors’ income.

We don’t get salaries in the strict sense of the word. While some physicians may have a set annual salary, or hourly rate, most physician income is  based on how many patients they treat; office visits, surgeries, procedures, xray or lab consultations (which can be remote, so called telemedicine).

For most doctors, income is directly tied to how many patients we see in a given day, month, or year.

I found some of these income figures  surprising. The income for primary care doctors, that is family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics seems high to me, at least for  where I live ( there are regional differences in what doctors are pain, even within the same specialty). Physicians are paid while in residency, which can last from 3 to 7 years, depending on specialty. Residents receive a yearly salary, which is far below what they will earn in practice.


Absent from the chart in Dr. Ott’s post are the support positions, those people in a hospital or clinic who don’t have medical training but whose work enables the rest of us to do our jobs.

These include receptionists, customer service reps, maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, security, human resources, billing and coding.

Nor does it include IT (information technology)  professionals; the use of  medical computer devices and  applications, called medical informatics, is now  a specialized profession.

Also missing are dieticians, nutritionists, chefs and kitchen support.

Other  occupations  directly or indirectly contribute to health care. If you make a living in  health care , please tell us about it in the comments.  Add your income too if you want.


taking blood pressure
measuring blood pressure- a skill most health professionals learn
Laboratory testing is vital to providing health care.













MRI machine
Diagnostic imaging- CAT, MRI and PET scanning have increased our ability to see inside the human body compared to plain x ray.



According to the Bureau of Labor statistics (U.S. Department of Labor) –

The health care and social assistance sector will account for over a third of the nation’s projected job growth from 2014 to 2024.

Most of the fastest growing occupations are in health care. 


I appreciate everyone who devotes their life to helping me and other physicians deliver quality health care in our communities. Despite all the challenges, I think we have picked the most noble profession .  Thank you.


Doctors and other health professionals don’t always make a living practicing medicine or nursing . Find out why here.

Read Dr. Ott’s post at this link-

What It Takes to Have a Career in Medicine

How to recover from injury or surgery- advice from a physical therapist

Another physician blogger, Kristin Prentiss Ott, M.D., asked her physical therapist friend Dr. Carolyn Dolan to write a guest post on her blog, Blog Therapy.  I want to share it with you.


The post offers advice to aid recovery after orthopedic injuries and surgery, but I think you can apply it to any illness, injury, or surgery. As always, you should check with the doctor managing your care before trying anything .

I’ll comment on the  points from the post ; a direct  link to the post will follow.

Move often and safely.

Good advice for everyone, injured or not. Many health experts believe that lack of physical activity is as much a health risk as poor diet or even smoking.




Ask for help.

This one is hard for me, as I tend to think I can manage on my own and don’t want to inconvenience someone else. When I fell and broke my foot, I  learned to ask for help. And people were happy to do so.


Drinking bone broth.

That’s a new concept for me, although I’ve cooked soups and stews with chicken and beef on the bone, so it’s not really as strange as it sounds at first.


Eat real food.

To me, that means fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and reasonable amounts of lean meats, poultry and fish. Limiting sugar. Using healthy oils like olive. Save the junk food for a once in a while “treat” if you really want it.

well balanced meal
Eat a variety of fresh foods every day







Get out in the sun.

This doesn’t mean to lay out for hours getting tanned or burned. But the sun helps our bodies make Vitamin D. Also, natural light can help with mood and sleep regulation.




Get enough rest and sleep.

Too many of us treat sleep like a luxury instead of a necessity. Most chronic tiredness is due to sleep deprivation,  not anemia, low thyroid or adrenal fatigue.


Here’s the complete article- thank you Dr. Kristen and Dr. Carolyn.

6 Tips to Optimize Recovery After Orthopedic Injury/Surgery (Guest Post) – Kristin Prentiss Ott, M.D..

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