Facing uncertainty, Valenti's somewhat pessimistic attitude about his future mirrors the view of many young physicians. Last month, a survey of 500 doctors by The Physicians Foundation showed that 57% were pessimistic about the future, with 30% saying they were "highly pessimistic," citing the new healthcare law or regulations as key reasons for their discontent.
Unlike Valenti, as many as 80% of doctors surveyed expressed satisfaction with their current arrangements, with 35% saying they are highly satisfied. At least 39% say they aspire to some form of ownership position in the future, either as a sole owner or partner.
The typical survey respondent was an employee of a medical group. When asked about the Affordable Care Act, 49% said they believe the impact on their practice will be negative, and 23% anticipate that it will be positive.
About 27% of the physicians surveyed say they are changing or considering changing their practice or employment arrangements over the next year because of "financial issues."
Lou Goodman, president of the Foundation, says he was surprised and troubled by the findings that young physicians are so disgruntled about what they believe the future holds in their profession—especially since people are applying to medical schools in record numbers.
The number of applicants applying to U.S. medical schools was 43,919 and reached an all-time high in 2011, according to the Association of Medical Colleges.