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CMA revises specialty profiles to reflect tighter job market

With the potential job market tightening within several medical and surgical specialties, the CMA has updated the "career intelligence" it provides in the specialty profiles it created to help medical students make career choices.

The 38 profiles, created for the CMA's Canadian Collaborative Centre for Physician Resources (C3PR), now include information on the amount of stress residents have reported facing as they prepared to enter the job market after finishing their training.

"We're following up on General Council's direction to provide medical students with detailed information that they can use when making career decisions, and we think these profiles fit the bill," said Lynda Buske, who manages C3PR. "We know these can be challenging decisions given the current job market, and we're hoping this expanded and refined employment resource makes them a little easier."

The new profiles cover 38 discipline areas, ranging from anatomical pathology to urology.

"The key word with these profiles is 'useful' information," says Buske. "We asked ourselves what kind of information we would be seeking if we were medical students, and went from there."

The result is that each profile includes a description of the type of work done within each specialty, as well as the number of specialists practising in each province, a gender and age breakdown within each specialty, and potential income.

For instance, medical students seeking information about urology would learn that Canada has 675 of these specialists, or 1.9 urologists per 100,000 population; the vast majority (93%) are men. One-third (32%) are aged 44 or younger, most (65%) are hospital based, and their work week - including direct patient care, teaching and professional development - lasts 65.3 hours, with another 39 hours per month spent providing direct patient care while on call.

On the income side, urologists had average gross clinical earnings of $450,000 in 2011/12, with surgeons' overhead costs amounting to 28.4% of earnings in 2010. Two-thirds of urologists (67%) reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their professional lives, the C3PR profile says.

Buske said the data for the 38 specialties have been gathered from a variety of sources, including the National Physician Survey, Canadian Institute for Health Information and C3PR.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.