Overall professional satisfaction in general practice appears high in Australia

January 01, 0001

Overall professional satisfaction in general practice appears high in Australia

The aim of this study was to investigate whether the level of professional satisfaction of Australian general practitioners varies according to community size and location. It consisted of a cross-sectional, population-level national survey using results for a cohort of 3906 GPs (36% were "rural" participants) from the first wave of a longitudinal study of the Australian medical workforce, conducted between June and November 2008. Geographical differences in levels of professional satisfaction were examined using five community size categories: metropolitan, greater than 1 million residents; regional centre, 50 000-999 999; medium-large rural, 10 000-49 999; small rural, 2500-9999; and very small rural, less than 2500.

Professional satisfaction of GPs did not differ by community size for most aspects of the job. Overall satisfaction was high, at about 85% across all community sizes. Satisfaction with remuneration was slightly higher in smaller rural towns, even though the hours worked there were less predictable. Professional satisfaction with freedom of choosing work method, variety of work, working conditions, opportunities to use abilities, amount of responsibility, and colleagues was very high across all community sizes, while difficulties with arranging locums and the stress of running the practice were commonly reported by GPs in all community sizes.

The researchers concluded: "GPs working in different sized communities in Australia express similar levels of satisfaction with most professional aspects of their work."

Doesn’t sound like what I hear on the ground here in Australia. Selection in to this study is very important for external validity.

For the full abstract, click here.

MJA 193(2):94-98, 19 July 2010
© 2010 to The Medical Journal of Australia
Professional satisfaction in general practice: does it vary by size of community?. Matthew R McGrail, John S Humphreys, Anthony Scott, Catherine M Joyce and Guyonne Kalb.

Category: HSR. Health Services Research. Keywords: professional, satisfaction, general practice, community, size, cross-sectional, population-level national survey, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 27 August 2010

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