Harris Poll doctor+infographic_final-1The most prestigious occupation in America is being a doctor, agreed by 90% of U.S. adults. 90% of them would also encourage their child to pursue a career in medicine.

Politician? 70% of parents would discourage a child from pursuing that career path, according to The Harris Poll’s survey on occupational prestige.

The top-prestige professions are:

Doctor, agreed by 90%

Scientist, 83%

Firefighter, 80%

Military officer, 78%

Engineer, 76%

Nurse, 76%

Architect, 72%

Emergency medical tech, 72%

Veterinarian, 71%

Police office, 67%%

Teacher, 65%

Entrepreneur, 65%

Chef, 62%

Athlete, 62%

Lawyer, 62%

Musician, 61%.

All other professions fell below 60% of consumers agreeing the occupation had prestige.

The study data broke out prestige rankings by generation cohort, which reveals some fascinating differences between younger versus older Americans. For example, older Americans more highly rank doctors, scientists, firefighters, nurses, architects, EMTs, veterinarians, police, and teachers.

Younger people more highly rank chefs, video game designers, athletes, lawyers, musicians, business executives, actors, journalists, bankers, and…politicians. I’ll call this the “Bernie Sanders Effect.”

Doctor-will-see-you-now-try-not-to-upset-himHealth Populi’s Hot Points:  How ironic that physicians possess the most prestige among all other U.S. workers. That’s ironic because, in the current health care climate, doctors feel quite beat-up and downhearted about their chosen profession. The most recent Physicians Foundation survey learned that 81% of physicians described themselves as overextended or at full capacity, with only 19% saying they could see more patients. 44% of doctors planned to take a step to reduce patient access to their services, such as retiring, working part-time, seeking a non-clinical job, or shutting their practice to new patients.

Only 44% of physicians characterized their morale and feelings about the state of medical profession as positive.

So as a result, 39% of physicians said they’d accelerate their retirement plans due to changes in the healthcare system.

“Hug your physician — chances are s/he is burnt out,” I wrote last year here in Health Populi, digging into the 2015 Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report. Your physician needs a lot more hugs in 2016. The prestige in and of itself just won’t cut it.