What drives physician job satisfaction?

Posted & filed under Physician Stories.

In recent years, physicians report being less satisfied with their positions than ever before. It may be surprising to learn that the factors behind this trend go beyond compensation.

Job satisfaction is important to workers in every industry, and that is no different when it comes to the healthcare field. Without job satisfaction, turn over rates become high, which can lead to troubling gaps in service. When patients aren’t receiving adequate care, practices will suffer as a result. While many believe that compensation alone would lead to high job satisfaction among physicians, there are also many other factors that doctors consider when evaluating the fulfillment their positions bring them.

Physician Job Satisfaction Statistics

Before delving into the driving forces of job satisfaction among physicians, it is important to acknowledge the overall landscape of physician fulfillment. A recent study done by Medscape reported that 64% of physicians would choose a career in medicine if they could go back in time. Of these physicians, however, only 45% say they would choose their current specialty again. This means that 55% of doctors who would choose medicine again would go into a different specialty. Additionally, only 25% say they would choose the same practice setting in which they currently work. In sum, 36% of physicians are so dissatisfied that they would choose a completely different career path, if they could.

The Medscape study also found that compensation was not the only driving factor behind physician satisfaction. It is important to note that some of the lowest paying physician specialties (such as psychiatry) reported some of the highest overall satisfaction rates. Oppositely, some of the highest paying physician specialties (such as plastic surgery) reported some of the lowest overall satisfaction rates.

While physician compensation is generally higher than the average for many other industries, the above-reported statistics provide insight into the finding that satisfaction rates do not necessarily correlate with high compensation.

The Factors Behind Physician Satisfaction

While salary plays a role when physicians are evaluating their satisfaction rates, it is not the only driving force. Some other considerations include:

  • Work-Life Balance: Physicians are busier than ever, leading to the potential for burnout. The Affordable Care Act, which requires all citizens to obtain health insurance coverage, has lead to an increase in overall doctor visits. In turn, physicians are seeing an increasingly large number of patients. Furthermore, the healthcare industry is growing, meaning that there are gaps in service that are being filled by current employees. This can lead to physicians being stretched too thin.
  • Electronic reporting requirements: Paperwork, red tape, and other administrative tasks are taking up an increasingly large portion of physician’s time. In fact, up to 12% of employed physicians and 9% of self-employed physicians report spending 25 hours or more per week on paperwork.
  • Patient relationships: When physicians first showed interest in medicine, it is likely that they had a passion to help patients. This is still true for many physicians, in fact, 34% of physicians say that the most rewarding aspect of their job stems from patient gratitude. In other words, when a physician receives positive feedback from a patient, it is likely to increase his or her overall job satisfaction.
  • Opportunities: Whether it is opportunities for job growth or research, physicians are more likely to be satisfied when they feel that their job presents them with the prospect of career advancement.

How Locum Tenens Can Help Improve Physician Job Satisfaction

Locum Tenens physicians are temporary workers who fill in wherever healthcare organizations need help. Not only can they physically fill a spot, but they can also help improve the atmosphere of any practice. This improvement can lead to increased job satisfaction.

Locum Tenens physicians can help ease the growing demand for care. As new patients flood in, Locum Tenens physicians can easily fill in the gaps. They can also help relieve the demands of paperwork and administrative duties that regularly bog physicians down. Furthermore, with Locum Tenens, current physicians are free to spend more time on what matters the most, whether it is increasing patient satisfaction, performing research, or improving their work-life balance.

To gain the benefits of Locum Tenens physicians, please contact Medstaff today.