Emergency department overcrowding: the impact of resource scarcity on physician job satisfaction

J Healthc Manag. Sep-Oct 2005;50(5):327-40; discussion 341-2.


Emergency departments in most developed countries have been experiencing significant overcrowding under a regime of severe resource constraints. Physicians in emergency departments increasingly find themselves toiling in workplaces that are characterized by diminished availability of, limited access to, and decreased stability of critical resources. Severe resource constraints have the potential to greatly weaken the overall job satisfaction of emergency physicians. This article examines the impact of hospital resource constraints on the job satisfaction of a large sample of emergency physicians in Canada. After controlling for workflow and patient characteristics and for various institutional and physician characteristics, institutional resource constraints are found to be major contributors to emergency physician job dissatisfaction. Resource factors that have the greatest impact on job satisfaction include availability of emergency room physicians, access to hospital technology and emergency beds, and stability of financial (investment) resources.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Burnout, Professional
  • Canada
  • Crowding*
  • Emergency Medicine*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Resources / supply & distribution
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Transfer
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data