The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
IBS and RT designed the study, performed the main statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. TM assisted with the statistical analyses. KIS, OA, TG and PV participated in writing of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Job satisfaction among physicians may be of importance to their individual careers and their work with patients. We lack prospective studies on whether a change in a doctor's job position influences their job satisfaction over a five-year period if we control for other workload factors.
A longitudinal national cohort of all physicians who graduated in Norway in 1993 and 1994 was surveyed by postal questionnaire in 2003 (T1) and 2008 (T2). Outcomes were measured with a 10-item job satisfaction scale. Predictor variables in a multiple regression model were: change in job position, reduction in work-home interface stress, reduction in work hours, age, and gender.
A total of 59% of subjects (306/522) responded at both time points. The mean value of job satisfaction in the total sample increased from 51.6 (SD = 9.0) at T1 to 53.4 (SD = 8.2) at T2 (paired t test, t = 3.8, p < 0.001). The major groups or positions at T1 were senior house officers (45%), chief specialists in hospitals (23%), and general practitioners (17%), and the latter showed the highest levels of job satisfaction. Physicians who changed position during the period (n = 176) experienced an increase in job satisfaction from 49.5 (SD = 8.4) in 2003 to 52.9 (SD = 7.5) in 2008 (paired t test, t = 5.2, p < 0.001). Job satisfaction remained unchanged for physicians who stayed in the same position. There was also an increase in satisfaction among those who changed from positions other than senior house officer at T1 (p < 0.01). The significant adjusted predictor variables in the multiple regression model were the change in position from senior house officer at T1 to any other position (β = 2.83, p < 0.001), any change in job position (from any position except SHO at T1) (β = 4.18, p < 0.01) and reduction in work-home interface stress (β = 1.04, p < 0.001).
The physicians experienced an increase in job satisfaction over a five-year period, which was predicted by a change in job position and a reduction in work-home stress. This study has implications with respect to career advice for young doctors.