- Over 230,000 physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other clinicians had quit their jobs as of August last year, according to a report based on an analysis of medical claims data from Definitive Healthcare.
- About 117,000 physicians left the profession during between the first quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2021, followed by about 53,000 nurse practitioners.
- The findings come amid other recent surveys detailing delayed COVID-19 physician burnout and hospital staff shortages.
Burnout has led to widespread staffing challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic among all types of medical professionals, including physicians and support staff.
On top of the physicians and nurse practitioners who left their roles, over 22,000 physician assistants and physical therapists and over 15,000 licensed clinical social workers also quit during that time period.
Heightened turnover among physicians is particularly concerning, as many are nearing retirement age, the report said.
Nearly 45% of doctors are older than 55, and more than 40% of active physicians will be 65 or older in the next 10 years, according to data from American Association of Medical Colleges.
Chiropractic physicians have the highest average age at 61 years old, the report found.
Definitive also looked at which specialties have been most impacted by staffing shortages.
Internal medicine, family practice, clinical psychology, chiropractic and psychology faced the greatest turnover throughout 2021, according to the report.
About 15,000 internal medicine physicians left their profession in 2021, along with over 13,000 family practice physicians.