Workforce nurturing: an approach to improving wellbeing, burnout and professional fulfilment among Australian doctors

Int J Med Educ. 2024 Jun 15:15:59-65. doi: 10.5116/ijme.6639.1a23.

Abstract

Objective: To assess the workplace drivers of professional fulfilment, burnout and perceived impact of workplace issues on wellbeing in doctors working in a regional Australian hospital, following a 6-month period of comprehensive workforce nurturing strategies.

Methods: An online cross-sectional survey combined both qualitative feedback and quantitative measures of wellbeing including the Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index to assess professional fulfillment and burnout and a workplace issues inventory to assess the relative perceived influence on work-related wellbeing.

Results: Survey responses from 124 doctors comprised approximately 60% (n=74) prevocational doctors, 12% (n=15) registrars and 28% (n=35) specialist doctors. Around 63% (n=78) of participants were international medical graduates. Overall, 25% (n=31) reported professional fulfilment and 13% (n=13) reported burnout. The top 6 workplace issues were (i) inefficient work practices and/or processes, (ii) medical officer vacancies in my department, (iii) inadequate support staff and/or excessive admin burden, (iv) inadequate workplace staff amenities, (v) poor access to nutritious onsite food, (vi) inability to access my entitled daily meal break. Factors perceived as having a minimal impact on wellbeing included learning opportunities, rostering, access to leave and support during challenging clinical situations, were directly related to the workforce nurturing strategies implemented.

Conclusions: This comprehensive evaluation of wellbeing in a regional healthcare setting provides a novel contribution to the literature by illustrating the transformative potential of workforce nurturing. Notably, the findings reflect the potential impact of workforce nurturing upon professional fulfilment and burnout, in the context of a regional hospital setting.

Keywords: burnout; professional fulfilment; wellbeing; workforce nurturing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Burnout, Professional* / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional* / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace* / psychology