November 2023 Pick of the Month

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A Decade of Difference

The data are stunning: “The 2319 EPs who exhibited attrition in 2019 had a median (IQR) age of 49.7 (40.6–62.8) years, stratified to 53.5 (43.5–65.3) years for male and 43.7 (37.8–52.8) years for female EPs.”   This is a main finding from Gettel et al. in this month’s Pick of the Month (POTM) Emergency medicine physician workforce attrition differences by age and gender.

Figure 3 in the article shows a more striking difference in the area under the curve for total years of practice between males versus females. Although it is tempting to speculate, this POTM announcement is not the correct venue, nor does its 59-year-old White male author have appropriate expertise to begin conjecturing reasons behind the why. The data in this article serve as a touchstone to galvanize a systematic health services research effort to find the why behind the decade of difference in age of exit between men and women. 

Besides the gender differences, another implication of this work includes the accelerating attrition between 2013 and 2019: from approximately 3% to approximately 7% for both genders. All these data address the hot button issue of workforce and job availability in emergency care and provide more granular data for medical students considering a residency choice, and for residents and practicing emergency physicians to ponder when seeking a job.


Jeffrey A. Kline, MD
Wayne State University School of Medicine


infographic shows gender-based diagnostic testing for pulmonary embolism


Source: Kirsty Challen, BSc, MBChB, MRes, PhD, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals | AEM Editor of Infographics