Why medical students don't want to become primary care doctors

It’s no secret that America has a shortage of primary care physicians and that the shortage is only going to get worse as the Affordable Care Act provides access to care for more U.S. citizens.
Phoenix has one of the worst physician shortages in the nation, according to a recent BetterDoctor.com ranking.

But with medical students facing huge debt loads, many aren’t too inclined to choose to go into primary care because primary care physicians don’t make as much money as specialists, such as surgeons.
UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Health Reform and Modernization issued a report this week on the significant challenges facing the nation’s primary care system.

An estimated 50 million Americans have inadequate access to primary care and the shortfall is set to worsen in coming years unless new approaches to primary care are implemented, according to the report.
Rural, lower-income and uninsured Americans face the greatest challenges accessing primary care. The majority of the 50 million Americans with inadequate access live in rural areas.

Dr. Stuart Flynn, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, said he likes to attract students to the medical school who have an open mind to primary care.

During the first two years of medical school, every student is paired with a primary care physician, spending an afternoon with that physician every other week. This gives them an opportunity to see life as a PCP.

Go to top