[What does it feel like for a physician to be a gatekeeper?]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002 Aug 20;122(19):1874-9.
[Article in Norwegian]


Background: Doctors increasingly act as gatekeepers. We have studied the effect that this function has on the doctors themselves.

Material and methods: Analysis of 24 questions from large surveys of representative samples of Norwegian doctors in 1993 and 2000.

Results: Six out of seven doctors sometimes or often met unrealistic demands from patients. More than one third experienced stress because of patient expectations about help for non-medical problems. Nearly 50% had adjusted medical certificates in order to help the patient. More than 50% sometimes or often gave more weight to patients' wishes than to their own medical judgement. 86% had chosen to come in for work themselves when they would have certified as sick a patient with the same symptoms and working situation. The proportions were significantly smaller among older doctors and doctors with a high level of job satisfaction.

Interpretation: The gatekeeper role has important influence on doctors' job satisfaction. A possible generation effect may imply that society will meet problems more often in the future when assigning gatekeeper functions to doctors.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Certificate of Need
  • Gatekeeping*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Capacity Evaluation
  • Workload