GP recruitment and retention: a qualitative analysis of doctors' comments about training for and working in general practice.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: General practice in the UK is experiencing difficulty with medical staff recruitment and retention, with reduced numbers choosing careers in general practice or entering principalships, and increases in less-than-full-time working, career breaks, early retirement and locum employment. Information is scarce about the reasons for these changes and factors that could increase recruitment and retention. The UK Medical Careers Research Group (UKMCRG) regularly surveys cohorts of UK medical graduates to determine their career choices and progression. We also invite written comments from respondents about their careers and the factors that influence them. Most respondents report high levels of job satisfaction. A noteworthy minority, however, make critical comments about general practice. Although their views may not represent those of all general practitioners (GPs), they nonetheless indicate a range of concerns that deserve to be understood. This paper reports on respondents' comments about general practice. ANALYSIS OF DOCTORS' COMMENTS: Training Greater exposure to general practice at undergraduate level could help to promote general practice careers and better inform career decisions. Postgraduate general practice training in hospital-based posts was seen as poor quality, irrelevant and run as if it were of secondary importance to service commitments. In contrast, general practice-based postgraduate training was widely praised for good formal teaching that met educational needs. The quality of vocational training was dependent upon the skills and enthusiasm of individual trainers. Recruitment problems Perceived deterrents to choosing general practice were its portrayal, by some hospital-based teachers, as a second class career compared to hospital medicine, and a perception of low morale amongst current GPs. The choice of a career in general practice was commonly made for lifestyle reasons rather than professional aspirations. Some GPs had encountered difficulties in obtaining posts in general practice suited to their needs, while others perceived discrimination. Newly qualified GPs often sought work as non-principals because they felt too inexperienced for partnership or because their domestic situation prevented them from settling in a particular area. Changes to general practice The 1990 National Health Service (NHS) reforms were largely viewed unfavourably, partly because they had led to a substantial increase in GPs' workloads that was compounded by growing public expectations, and partly because the two-tier system of fund-holding was considered unfair. Fund-holding and, more recently, GP commissioning threatened the GP's role as patient advocate by shifting the responsibility for rationing of health care from government to GPs. Some concerns were also expressed about the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) and trusts (PCTs). Together, increased workload and the continual process of change had, for some, resulted in work-related stress, low morale, reduced job satisfaction and quality of life. These problems had been partially alleviated by the formation of GP co-operatives. Retention difficulties Loss of GPs' time from the NHS workforce occurs in four ways: reduced working hours, temporary career breaks, leaving the NHS to work elsewhere and early retirement. Child rearing and a desire to pursue interests outside medicine were cited as reasons for seeking shorter working hours or career breaks. A desire to reduce pressure of work was a common reason for seeking shorter working hours, taking career breaks, early retirement or leaving NHS general practice. Other reasons for leaving NHS general practice, temporarily or permanently, were difficulty in finding a GP post suited to individual needs and a desire to work abroad. CONCLUSIONS: A cultural change amongst medical educationalists is needed to promote general practice as a career choice that is equally attractive as hospital practice. The introduction of Pre-Registration House Officer (PRHO) placements in general practice and improved flexibility of GP vocational training schemes, together with plans to improve the quality of Senior House Officer (SHO) training in the future, are welcome developments and should address some of the concerns about poor quality GP training raised by our respondents. The reluctance of newly qualified GPs to enter principalships, and the increasing demand from experienced GPs for less-than-full-time work, indicates a need for a greater variety of contractual arrangements to reflect doctors' desires for more flexible patterns of working in general practice. (+info)
Nursing workforce retention: challenging a bullying culture.
Discussions surrounding nursing shortages typically focus on recruitment, but retention is also a problem. Emerging research suggests that intimidation in the nursing workforce is a problem that planners need to deal with as part of an overall strategy aimed at maintaining a balance between supply and demand. This paper explores issues surrounding intimidation in the nursing workforce and looks at how one major teaching hospital in Australia attempted to address the problem. (+info)
Organizational practices, work demands and the well-being of employees: a follow-up study in the metal industry and retail trade.
BACKGROUND: Rapid technological change and increased international competition have changed working life and work organizations. These changes may not be considered when researching employee work ability and well-being. AIM: This study investigates the impact of organizational practices, work demands and individual factors on work ability, organizational commitment and mental well-being of employees in the metal industry and retail trade. METHOD: A follow-up study was conducted to examine these connections among 1389 employees (mean age 42 years at baseline) in 91 organizations. The first survey was conducted in 1998 and was repeated in 2000. RESULTS: Changes in organizational practices and the demands of work were strongly associated with changes in employee well-being. Work ability, organizational commitment and the mental well-being of employees were increased most if the opportunities for development and influence and the promotion of employee well-being were increased and if the supervisory support and organization of work were improved. Well-being also improved with less uncertainty at work and with decreasing mental and physical work demands. In addition physical exercise and affluence also had favourable effects. CONCLUSIONS: The results confirm that several features of organizational practices are strongly associated with employees' well-being. Organizational development is an important method of improving employees' work ability, commitment and well-being. (+info)
Factors affecting physician loyalty and exit: a longitudinal analysis of physician-hospital relationships.
This article examines forces that influence physicians to change the percentage of their admissions to a hospital (loyalty) and to cease admitting patients to a hospital altogether (exit). Because physicians are both members of a hospital and consumers of its services, their admitting patterns can be described using models of employee commitment and consumer buying behavior. We test several hypotheses drawn from these literatures using data on physician admissions at hospitals over a two-year period. Results indicate that admitting patterns are explained primarily by convenience and inertia processes characteristic of consumer behavior. On the other hand, factors believed to influence organizational commitment (e.g., decision-making involvement, conflict, economic investments) have little effect on loyalty and exit. The findings question the utility of hospital strategies to improve the climate of physician-hospital relations, and suggest several qualifications for research on the commitment of professionals. (+info)
Moral distress of staff nurses in a medical intensive care unit.
BACKGROUND: Moral distress is caused by situations in which the ethically appropriate course of action is known but cannot be taken. Moral distress is thought to be a serious problem among nurses, particularly those who practice in critical care. It has been associated with job dissatisfaction and loss of nurses from the workplace and the profession. OBJECTIVES: To assess the level of moral distress of nurses in a medical intensive care unit, identify situations that result in high levels of moral distress, explore implications of moral distress, and evaluate associations among moral distress and individual characteristics of nurses. METHODS: A descriptive, questionnaire study was used. A total of 28 nurses working in a medical intensive care unit anonymously completed a 38-item moral distress scale and described implications of experiences of moral distress. RESULTS: Nurses reported a moderate level of moral distress overall. Highest levels of distress were associated with the provision of aggressive care to patients not expected to benefit from that care. Moral distress was significantly correlated with years of nursing experience. Nurses reported that moral distress adversely affected job satisfaction, retention, psychological and physical well-being, self-image, and spirituality. Experience of moral distress also influenced attitudes toward advance directives and participation in blood donation and organ donation. CONCLUSIONS: Critical care nurses commonly encounter situations that are associated with high levels of moral distress. Experiences of moral distress have implications that extend well beyond job satisfaction and retention. Strategies to mitigate moral distress should be developed and tested. (+info)
A conceptual model for recruitment and retention: allied health workforce enhancement in Western Victoria, Australia.
Attracting and retaining allied health professionals in rural areas is a recognised problem in both Australia and overseas. Predicted increases in health needs will require strategic actions to enhance the rural workforce and its ability to deliver the required services. A range of factors in different domains has been associated with recruitment and retention in the allied health workforce. For example, factors can be related to the nature of the work, the personal needs, or the way an organisation is led. Some factors cannot be changed (eg geographical location of extended family) whereas others can be influenced (eg education, support, management styles). Recruitment and retention of allied health professionals is a challenging problem that deserves attention in all domains and preparedness to actively change established work practices, both individually as well as collectively, in order to cater for current and predicted health needs. Changes to enhance workforce outcomes can be implemented and evaluated using a cyclic model. The Allied Health Workforce Enhancement Project of the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health (GGT UDRH) is working towards increasing the number of allied health professionals in the south west of Victoria. Based on themes identified in the literature, an interactive model is being developed that addresses recruitment and retention factors in three domains: (1) personal or individual; (2) organisation; and (3) community. (+info)
How can employment-based benefits help the nurse shortage?
During a labor shortage, employment-based benefits can be used to recruit and retain workers. This paper provides data on the availability of benefits to registered nurses (RNs), reports on how health care leaders are approaching the provision of employment-based benefits for nurses, and considers what nurses have to say in focus groups about benefits. Because of the ongoing nurse shortage, many employers are trying to enhance the benefits they offer to support recruitment and retention efforts. We offer recommendations for health care leaders that follow from our findings about the current state of nurses' employment-based benefits. (+info)
The generation and gender shifts in medicine: an exploratory survey of internal medicine physicians.
BACKGROUND: Two striking demographic shifts evident in today's workforce are also apparent in the medical profession. One is the entry of a new generation of physicians, Gen Xers, and the other is the influx of women. Both shifts are argued to have significant implications for recruitment and retention because of assumptions regarding the younger generation's and women's attitudes towards work and patient care. This paper explores two questions regarding the generations: (1) How do Baby Boomer and Generation X physicians perceive the generation shift in work attitudes and behaviours? and (2) Do Baby Boomer and Generation X physicians differ significantly in their work hours and work attitudes regarding patient care and life balance? Gen Xers include those born between 1965 and 1980; Baby Boomers are those born between 1945 and 1964. We also ask: Do female and male Generation X physicians differ significantly in their work hours and work attitudes regarding patient care and life balance? METHODS: We conducted exploratory interviews with 54 physicians and residents from the Department of Medicine (response rate 91%) and asked about their perceptions regarding the generation and gender shifts in medicine. We limit the analyses to interview responses of 34 Baby Boomers and 18 Generation Xers. We also sent questionnaires to Department members (response rate 66%), and this analysis is limited to 87 Baby Boomers' and 65 Generation Xers' responses. RESULTS: The qualitative interview data suggest significant generation and gender shifts in physicians' attitudes. Baby Boomers generally view Gen Xer physicians as less committed to their medical careers. The quantitative questionnaire data suggest that there are few significant differences in the generations' and genders' reports of work-life balance, work hours and attitudes towards patient care. CONCLUSION: A combined qualitative and quantitative approach to the generation shift and gender shift in medicine is helpful in revealing that the widely held assumptions are not necessarily reflective of any significant differences in actual work attitudes or behaviours of Boomer and Gen X physicians or of the younger generation of women entering medicine. (+info)