CRNA salaries surpass those of primary care doctors

I received several requests asking me to comment on this CNN story, “Some nurses paid more than family doctors.”

This isn’t really news, as CNRA salaries have been on a trajectory surpassing primary care physicians’ for a few years now. In fact, I wrote about it back in June of 2008.

According to the latest numbers, “Primary care doctors were offered an average base salary of $173,000 in 2009 compared to an average base salary of $189,000 offered to certified nurse anesthetists, or CRNAs, according to the latest numbers from Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a physician recruiting and consulting firm.”

And this isn’t something that happened overnight. According to Merritt, “It’s the fourth year in a row that CRNAs were recruited at a higher pay than a family doctor.”

It isn’t just the money, folks. A CRNA has a more manageable lifestyle, primarily consisting of shift work, as well as less administrative burdens compared to a primary care physician.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe their malpractice premiums are lower too.

So, in summary: better lifestyle, less bureaucracy, and possibly lower malpractice expense. All for higher pay.

What’s there not to like? As long as primary care continues to be grossly underpaid, relatively speaking, I’m sure that some prospective medical students considering primary care may reconsider their career choice and go the CRNA route.

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