Being an NP, I work with a group of physicians who have their own share of problems. There is a demand to see as many patients as you can [the more you see, the more the establishment can bill insurance companies!], your time has to be productive as a result. Time slots are 15 minutes, sometimes they are double, or even triple booked-- I know I don't see half of them take a break, they just go from patient to patient to patient.
HMO's and other insurance companies limit and prescribe what a doctor can do. If an MD feels that the pt. would benefit from a CT scan, the insurance company won't pay for it unless a less invasive form of test [x-ray] was first done. If the doctor wants to prescribe outside of a HMO's formulary, he/she better have a good reason for doing so. Otherwise, sure the patient could still obtain the medication, but they better have the money to pay for it themselves.
ASIDE: I could never figure that out... by the time you pay for an x-ray, the radiologists fee to read it, a CT scan (with/without contrast) the technician to administer it, the radiologist to read it, etc., we could just send people for MRI's right off that bat, which, by the way is far superior to the prior two mentioned techniques!!!
At any rate, I don't think it's a bowl of cherries to be a physician. They make more money [at least double my salary, more like triple], but they have exponentially more headaches. If someone is going to file a lawsuit, and we have a choice between MD and nurse.... guess who is going to get it??? The physician always has liability insurance [versus a nurse who may or may not have it]. Yes, nurses have been sued, but my malpractice insurance
is only about $370/year. Physicians in general practice pay about $2,500-$3,000/year. Want to take a guess why???? One group has been sued more!
Consider it carefully. Don't jump from the proverbial frying pan into the fire.