Background: The number of hospitalists in the US is growing rapidly, yet little is known about their worklife to inform whether hospital medicine is a viable long-term career for physicians.
Objective: Determine current satisfaction levels among hospitalists.
Design: Survey study.
Methods: A national random stratified sample of 3,105 potential hospitalists plus 662 hospitalist employees of three multi-state hospitalist companies were administered the Hospital Medicine Physician Worklife Survey. Using 5-point Likert scales, the survey assessed demographic information, global job and specialty satisfaction, and 11 satisfaction domains: workload, compensation, care quality, organizational fairness, autonomy, personal time, organizational climate, and relationships with colleagues, staff, patients, and leader. Relationships between global satisfaction and satisfaction domains, and burnout symptoms and career longevity were explored.
Results: There were 816 hospitalist responses (adjusted response rate, 25.6%). Correcting for oversampling of pediatricians, 33.5% of respondents were women, and 7.4% were pediatricians. Overall, 62.6% of respondents reported high satisfaction (≥4 on a 5-point scale) with their job, and 69.0% with their specialty. Hospitalists were most satisfied with the quality of care they provided and relationships with staff and colleagues. They were least satisfied with organizational climate, autonomy, compensation, and availability of personal time. In adjusted analysis, satisfaction with organizational climate, quality of care provided, organizational fairness, personal time, relationship with leader, compensation, and relationship with patients predicted job satisfaction. Satisfaction with personal time, care quality, patient relationships, staff relationships, and compensation predicted specialty satisfaction. Job burnout symptoms were reported by 29.9% of respondents who were more likely to leave and reduce work effort.
Conclusions: Hospitalists rate their job and specialty satisfaction highly, but burnout symptoms are common. Hospitalist programs should focus on organizational climate, organizational fairness, personal time, and compensation to improve satisfaction and minimize attrition.