Practice assistants in primary care in Germany - associations with organizational attributes on job satisfaction

BMC Fam Pract. 2013 Aug 5;14:110. doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-14-110.


Background: Job satisfaction and organizational attributes in primary care teams are important issues as they affect clinical outcomes and the quality of health care provided. As practice assistants are an integral part of these teams it is important to gain insight into their views on job satisfaction and organizational attributes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the job satisfaction of practice assistants and the organizational attributes within their general practices in Germany and to explore the existence of possible associations.

Methods: This observational study was based on a job satisfaction survey and measurement of organizational attributes in general practices in the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Job satisfaction was measured with the 10-item 'Warr-Cook-Wall job satisfaction scale'. Organizational attributes were evaluated with the 21-items 'survey of organizational attributes for primary care' (SOAPC). Linear regression analyses were performed in which each of SOAPC scales and the overall score of SOAPC was treated as outcome variables.

Results: 586 practice assistants out of 794 respondents (73.8%) from 234 general practices completed the questionnaire. Practice assistants were mostly satisfied with their colleagues and least of all satisfied with their income and recognition for their work. The regression analysis showed that 'freedom of working method' and 'recognition of work', the employment status of practice assistants and the mode of practice were almost always significantly associated with each subscale and overall score of SOAPC.

Conclusions: Job satisfaction is highly associated with different aspects of organizational attributes for primary care ('communication', 'decision-making' and 'stress'). Consequently, improved job satisfaction could lead to a better-organized primary care team. This implication should be investigated directly in further intervention studies with a special focus on improving the recognition for work and income.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Physician Assistants / psychology*
  • Physician Assistants / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data