The Happiest Specialty: Rheumatology Is #1!


The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.

The Rheumatologist
July 10, 2012 • By James R. O’Dell, MD
Dr. O’Dell

A recent Medscape poll of more than 292,000 physicians determined that rheumatologists were the happiest subspecialists! This, of course, was no surprise to many of us, unless you have been on the advocacy list serve lately. If we are so happy, then why are we not attracting more bright young people to replace all of us old guys and, to a lesser extent, gals (the mean age of rheumatologists is currently 57)? How can we get the word out about this apparently well-kept secret? Obviously, with a measly 2.8% of internal medicine residents electing to go into rheumatology and a projected shortage of 2,600 rheumatologists by 2025, we are not doing a very good job spreading the news

Top 10 Reasons

Here is a list of the top 10 reasons why rheumatologists are the happiest specialty:

10. We do not pay as many taxes as most other docs (OK, I was reaching a little here).

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9. We see and care for patients of all ages.

8. We take care of the whole patient, not just an organ.

7. We practice the art as well as the science of medicine.

6. We get lots of hugs from our patients—both literally and figuratively.

5. Rheumatology self-selects happy people.

4. We have excellent therapies and get to see excellent results.

3. We are diagnosticians—the Sherlock Holmes of the clinic—often the court of last resort.

2. We get to take care of, and form long-term relationships with, our patients.

1. We are in control of our lives, practice, and time. Therefore, most of us know our children’s names.


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