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Open Access Commentary

Physician job satisfaction as a public health issue

Richard L Kravitz

Author Affiliations

UC Davis Division of General Medicine, 4150 V. Street, Suite 2400 PSSB, Sacramento, CA, 95817, USA

Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 2012, 1:51  doi:10.1186/2045-4015-1-51

Published: 14 December 2012

Abstract

In Hirschman’s classic formulation, physicians can signal discontent with their conditions of work by “exiting” (leaving the profession or not entering it in the first place) or by giving “voice” to their concerns (e.g. complaining, protesting, bargaining collectively, or conducting work actions and strikes). This Commentary reviews the findings of a survey of Israeli neonatologists by Moshe et al. Survey respondents were satisfied with their careers but not with salary, patient care demands, and leisure time, a pattern that has been seen in other countries, particularly within “small, acute care specialties” (SACS). One question for policymakers is how to help physicians in SACS maintain work-life balance and avoid burnout while providing superb patient care. The Commentary considers several possible solutions while advocating for rigorous and comprehensive monitoring of physician satisfaction over time.