Background: Work satisfaction among physicians is an important concern because it is associated with several important aspects of care, such as the continuity of care and health care costs. In this study, a brief work satisfaction questionnaire was developed, its validity was assessed, and it was used to examine the determinants of work-related satisfaction among a sample of Swiss physicians.
Methods: Based on the literature, a 17-item work satisfaction questionnaire was developed that addressed five dimensions of satisfaction: patient care, work-related burden, income-prestige, personal rewards and professional relations with colleagues. This questionnaire was administered by mail to 1904 doctors practising in Geneva, Switzerland; 1184 (59%) responded. Additional data were collected on physicians' personal and work situation.
Results: In general, physicians were more satisfied with the following aspects of their current work situation: patient care, professional relations and personal rewards (intellectual stimulation, opportunities for continuing medical education, enjoyment at work). The lowest satisfaction scores were found for work-related burden (workload, time available for family, friends or leisure, work-related stress, administrative burden) and work-related income and prestige. In multivariate models, variables associated with most dimensions of satisfaction included type of practice (physician in training were less satisfied), specialty (internal medicine specialists and pediatricians were more satisfied), time spent on administrative tasks (globally negative effect), time spent on continuing medical education (globally positive effect). Age and sex had only a minor influence on satisfaction scores.
Conclusion: Physician work satisfaction is multidimensional and can easily be measured using a short self-administered questionnaire. This instrument could be useful to monitor changes in the near future.