Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation doctors are often called Physiatrists for short or PM&R docs for even shorter. They specialize in rehabilitation medicine which focuses on improving a patient’s functional ability and quality of life.
Patient’s who have disabilities from stroke or car accidents or worse may need help getting back to their baseline daily living. Physiatrists use medications, physical therapy, adaptive devices, orthotics, and electrodiagnostics.
These doctors work in private practice, academics, and in the hospital. They also have a pretty good lifestyle with mostly no call.
Physiatrists make a pretty good living.
The median expected salary is $200,339 dollars with most of the physicians making $1788,888 to $224,545. This range is actually only a little more than family medicine salaries. The maximum reported salary is $313,000 dollars.
Here are a few actual PM&R physicians and their salaries :
- Dr. Karen Jean Kowalske – $317,200
- Dr. Fatma Gul – $262,100
- Dr. Benjamin Nguyen – $164,800
To become a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctor, you must complete four years of training. Three years is dedicated to PM&R but the first year is a tossup to one of a few specialties. It depends on the program but it’s possible to do your first year of residency in any one of these specialties before going into Physical Medicine :
After you’ve done residency, PM&R doctors can subspecialize in sports medicine, pain management, or pediatrics physical medicine. Right now, there are only 77 residency programs offering training in this field. That’s not as much as other specialties so the competition may be tough.
Physiatrists have a great lifestyle. Their residency has no call, repeat NO CALL**. And that translates into the real world too. Their salary is more than primary care but less than many specialist fields.
Let’s not forget the patients. It’s a great feeling being able to connect with them and see their improvement over time. It’s traumatic walking your whole life and then become debilitated from a stroke. You can help them regain some of their independence. A smile from a happy patient you’ve helped is extremely gratifying.
**Jersh55 wrote in the comments that PM&R residents DO have call. There’s NO PM&R residency which does not have call. Too bad, it was too good to be true huh? I’m gonna have to knee my PM&R friends for embellishing. Here’s a link to a thread about doing PM&R call in residency.