Depending on the flavor of primary care a physician practices, cumulative pay increases over the last five years have either been very good, in comparison to other health care professionals — or very poor. Warren Surveys, which tracks salary trends of medical professionals in about 250 health care organizations, says that over the last five years, increases for general practitioners have matched or outperformed lower-level health care providers, but salary hikes for family physicians and internists have lagged. More recently, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and staff nurses have taken on newfound importance — if one-year salary trends are any indication.

Median salary percentage decrease/increase (45,000 responses)

SOURCE: ALLIED HEALTH COMPENSATION & STAFFING RATIO SURVEY, WARREN SURVEYS, 2001