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May 2007, Volume 57, Issue 5

Letter to the Editor

Correlates of job satisfaction in male physicians - perspective from Islamabad and Rawalpindi

Madam, Job satisfaction of physicians leads to improved patient care and better outcomes.1,2 Health services research on job satisfaction levels and its correlates is important for informed health policy planning process to attain improved health for all.3 A cross-sectional survey based on convenience sampling was conducted among the male physicians working in various public and private sector hospitals in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi from July 2004 to February 2005. A structured, self-administered, anonymous and pre-tested questionnaire was used to study the self-described stress and job satisfaction. Two hundred and two questionnaires were completed. Respondent's mean age was 41.9 years (range 25 to 69 years).

A question was asked about the number of days that respondent's mental health was not good in the past month; with bad mental health defined "to include stress, depression and emotional problems".4 Sixty-two (30.7%) physicians reported one to seven such days; while another 3 (1.5%) reported more than seven such days in the past month, albeit this definition was open to subjective interpretation. Glass ceiling effect, defined as an invisible barrier blocking the professional advancement of qualified women physicians in their work setting/hospital was also inquired about. Ninety-eight (48.5%) physicians reported that glass ceiling effect existed in their work place.

Table 1 lists the various job satisfaction attributes and stresses inquired about, alongwith their frequencies, means and standard errors. Almost all of the physicians reported to be generally satisfied with their job, although there was discrepancy between job satisfaction and its correlates. Current job-related stress was reported as moderate to high by 90 (44.6%) physicians, while 57

(28.2%) reported moderate to high level of stress in their personal life. Yet these stresses did not influence their perceived job satisfaction levels. Stress at work was perhaps seen as an integral part of life as a practicing physician. On the other hand, perceived control of professional work related activities was very high i.e. 97%, as 196 physicians reported usually to always be in control of work related activities. A previous study utilizing mail-survey methodology reported job satisfaction levels of male and female physicians working in teaching hospitals of Karachi with a sample size of 182; reported job dissatisfaction rate of 68%.5 Higher job satisfaction levels in our study probably account for the work-setting differences, as working for teaching hospitals perhaps entails different and higher levels of stress.

There is a need in the country to develop and empirically determine validity and reliability of indigenous survey instruments for health services research in population based surveys.

Masood Ali Shaikh, Irshad Ali Shaikh
Chester Health Department, City Hall. 1 Fourth Street, Chester, PA 19013
United States of America

References

1. Bartell JM, Smith MA. Physician professionalism and organizational efforts to improve quality: a systems perspective. WMJ 2004;103:66-70.

2. Hass JS, Cook EF, Puopolo AL, Burstin HR, Cleary PD, Brennan TA. Is the professional satisfaction of general internists associated with patient satisfaction? J Gen Intern Med 2000;15:122-8.

3. World Health Organization. World Health Report 2000 - Health Systems: Improving Performance. Geneva: WHO; 2000.

4. Frank E, Borgan DJ, Mokdad AH, Simoes EJ, Kahn HS, Greenberg RS. Health related behaviors of women physicians vs other women in the United States. Arch Intrn Med 1998;158:342-8.

5. Khuwaja AK, Qureshi R, Andrades M, Fatmi Z, Khuwaja NK. Comparison of job satisfaction and stress among male and female doctors in teaching hospitals of Karachi. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad 2004;16:23-7.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: