Background: Emergency care workforce concerns have gained national prominence given recent data suggesting higher than previously estimated attrition. With little known regarding characteristics of physicians leaving the workforce, we sought to investigate the age and number of years since residency graduation at which male and female emergency physicians (EPs) exhibited workforce attrition.
Methods: We performed a repeated cross-sectional analysis of EPs reimbursed by Medicare linked to date of birth and residency graduation date data from the American Board of Emergency Medicine for the years 2013-2020. Stratified by gender, our primary outcomes were the median age and number of years since residency graduation at the time of attrition, defined as the last year during the study time frame that an EP provided clinical services. We constructed a multivariate logistic regression model to examine the association between gender and EP workforce attrition.
Results: A total of 25,839 (70.2%) male and 10,954 (29.8%) female EPs were included. During the study years, 5905 male EPs exhibited attrition at a median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of 56.4 (44.5-65.4) years, and 2463 female EPs exhibited attrition at a median (IQR) age of 44.0 (38.0-53.9) years. Female gender (adjusted odds ratio 2.30, 95% confidence interval 1.82-2.91) was significantly associated with attrition from the workforce. Male and female EPs had respective median (IQR) post-residency graduation times in the workforce of 17.5 (9.5-25.5) years and 10.5 (5.5-18.5) years among those who exhibited attrition and one in 13 males and one in 10 females exited clinical practice within 5 years of residency graduation.
Conclusions: Female physicians exhibited attrition from the EM workforce at an age approximately 12 years younger than male physicians. These data identify widespread disparities regarding EM workforce attrition that are critical to address to ensure stability, longevity, and diversity in the EP workforce.
Keywords: age; attrition; emergency medicine; gender; workforce.
© 2023 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.