U.S. physician satisfaction: a systematic review

J Hosp Med. 2009 Nov;4(9):560-8. doi: 10.1002/jhm.496.


Introduction: There is concern in the US about the burden and potential ramifications of dissatisfaction among physicians. The purpose of this article is to systematically review the literature on US physician satisfaction.

Methods: A MEDLINE search with the medical subject headings (MeSH) phrases: (physicians OR physician's role OR physician's women) AND (job satisfaction OR career satisfaction OR burnout), limited to humans and abstracts, with 1157 abstracts reviewed. After exclusions by 2 independent reviewers, 97 articles were included. Physician type sampled, sample size/response rate, satisfaction type, and satisfaction results were extracted for each study. Satisfaction trends were extracted from those studies with longitudinal or repeated cross sectional design. Variables associated with satisfaction were extracted from those studies that included multivariate analyses.

Results: Physician satisfaction was relatively stable, with small decreases primarily among primary care physicians (PCPs). The major pertinent mediating factors of satisfaction for hospitalists include both physician factors (age and specialty), and job factors (job demands, job control, collegial support, income, and incentives).

Conclusions: The majority of factors associated with satisfaction are modifiable. Tangible recommendations for measuring and diminishing dissatisfaction are given.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Medicine
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Practice Management, Medical / organization & administration
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • United States
  • Workload / psychology