How many hours does the average physician work in a week?

While most of us with white collar jobs will have this coming Labor Day off to spend with family and friends, many physicians will observe the holiday while at work. Today, we focus on answering the question “how many hours does the average doctor work in a week?” As this question has many different variables, in general here’s what we found out.

The journey to becoming a doctor is understandably difficult. Following pre-med studies and four years of medical school, M.D.s & D.O.s straight out of school must spend anywhere from three to seven years (depending on their chosen specialty) training as residents and/or fellows at an established teaching hospital.

The physical and emotional demands on residents, fellows and physicians in general remain, without parallel, some of the hardest in the American work force. Some of these pressures are inherent to the nature of the profession: most people cannot imagine a workday where mental lapse or error in judgment can deprive another of their health, brain function, or even life. But those in the medical profession are expected to suck it up, cry it out, and be back the next morning for their 6 a.m. shift.

Residents in America are expected to spend up to 80 hours a week in the hospital and endure single shifts that routinely last up to 28 hours—with such workdays required about four times a month on average. Below we offer some more interesting information we found on the hours Physicians are working post-residency.
Most physicians work between 51 and 60 hours a week, according to “A Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives,” released by The Physicians Foundation. To put this into perspective, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics release of data in the Employment Situation Survey for February 2018, most Americans work an average of 34.5 hours per week.

The report includes responses from 13,575 physicians.
• 0 to 20 hours — 4 percent
• 21 to 30 hours — 4.5 percent
• 31 to 40 hours — 12.2 percent
• 41 to 50 hours — 21.9 percent
• 51 to 60 hours — 26.1 percent
• 61 to 70 hours — 15.3 percent
• 71 to 80 hours — 9.9 percent
• 81 to 90 hours — 3.9 percent
• 91 to 100 hours — 1.6 percent
• 101 hours or more — 0.6 percent

Advanced Practice Providers are not far behind when it comes to how much they are working. According to a survey done by the ANPF, here is the breakdown of the average hours Advanced Practitioners work weekly.

In conclusion, this Labor Day, we honor all the physicians, advance practice providers, and all other medical professionals, who will be working this Labor Day to take care of those in need. We are so thankful for all that you do.