Most doctors in Australia are moderately or very satisfied with their jobs, according to an NHMRC-funded study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Catherine Joyce, Senior Lecturer for the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, and co-authors from Monash and the University of Melbourne investigated whether levels of job satisfaction and determinants of satisfaction differ between Australian GPs, specialists, specialists-in-training and hospital non-specialists.
AdvertisementDr Joyce said that most doctors were moderately or very satisfied with their jobs and there was no significant difference in job satisfaction between GPs, specialists and specialists-intraining. However, hospital non-specialists appeared to be less satisfied than GPs.
Specialists were most likely to be very satisfied (37.5 per cent), followed by GPs (32.7 per cent), specialists-in-training (21.4 per cent) and hospital non-specialists (16.9 per cent). Fewer than two per cent of doctors in each group were very dissatisfied, but 12 per cent of hospital non-specialists were moderately dissatisfied compared with 7-8 per cent for other doctors.
Doing on-call work and the number of hours worked per week were not statistically significant and did not differ across doctor types, although specialists doing on-call work were less likely to be satisfied than GPs doing on-call work.
Dr Joyce said that having a professional support network was strongly associated with job satisfaction, consistent with research showing that it was a key factor in retention for rural areas, and that graduates' perceptions of professional support influenced their career choice.
"Questions about whether job satisfaction influences doctors' decisions about working hours, retention and mobility are central to examining patterns of access to health care, and require further research," Dr Joyce said.
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.