New research from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a part of the Department of Labor, ranks urologist as the most stressful occupation in the United States.1,2
O*NET ranked urologist as the most stressful career among the 873 jobs it evaluated. Commenting on the ranking in a news release, the nonprofit urology trade association LUGPA stated that the growing shortage of physicians in the United States is a dominant factor contributing to the increased stress urologists experience. The organization explained that the shortage, along with the massive care delay caused by the pandemic, has created a significant increase in demand for appointments, leading to escalating wait times.
Additionally, the shortage, and the accompanying stressors, are only expected to become more severe over time as more urologists retire. In the news release, LUGPA referenced the study, “Projected US Urology Workforce per Capita, 2020-2060,” published in JAMA Network Open, in which researchers developed models showing that there will be a continued decrease in the urology workforce per capita in the United States through 2060.3
Beyond the physician shortage, LUGPA noted another major stressor for urologists is the harsh financial reality of high inflation combined with an impending payment reduction of 4.5% in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS).
"Multiple factors, including the escalating physician shortage in the United States, the high stakes decisions that urologists must make every day, the regulatory burdens and the decrease in financial reimbursement from CMS, create an increasingly stressful environment for urologists and their patients," Evan R. Goldfischer, MD, president of LUGPA, stated in the press release. "LUGPA has made tremendous strides in addressing these issues and strengthening the field of independent urology, and we will continue expanding our efforts to reduce stress for urologists and create the best possible environment for them to be successful."
Goldfischer added, "As independent urologists, we are trusted to counsel, diagnose and treat patients in medical situations that are incredibly personal and sometimes frightening," Goldfischer said. "This aspect of the field means that we must develop a significant level of trust with patients and create meaningful patient-provider relationships, which is a large part of what makes the specialty so rewarding. Urologists also must have the ability to communicate with patients with the utmost level of respect, patience and transparency."
1. O*NET Online. Browse by Work Styles: Stress Tolerance. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.onetonline.org/find/descriptor/result/1.C.4.b
2. New Data Highlights Workplace Stress for Urologists; LUGPA Looks Toward Solutions. Published online December 14, 2022. Accessed December 14, 2022. https://prn.to/3USscV7
3. Nam CS, Daignault-Newton S, Kraft KH, Herrel LA. Projected US Urology Workforce per Capita, 2020-2060. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Nov 1;4(11):e2133864. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.33864.