Published in the February 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
ASK HOSPITALISTS about career satisfaction, and you’ll get good and bad news. The good news is that nearly two-thirds of hospitalists say they’re either satisfied or very satisfied with their careers, and that only 7% say they’re somewhat or very unsatisfied. The less good news is that a big chunk of hospitalists “over one-quarter “say they’re only “somewhat” satisfied with their career. Here’s a look at the details behind those data, including a look at the specific career attributes that hospitalists feel good “and bad “about.
According to data from the 2013 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, career satisfaction varies significantly by specialty. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of adult hospitalists say they’re extremely or very satisfied with their career. That’s significantly lower than the 81% of pediatric hospitalists who report being extremely or very satisfied.
Based on those data, it’s little surprise that dissatisfaction rates are higher for adult hospitalists (7% say they’re somewhat or very dissatisfied) than for pediatric hospitalists (4% are somewhat or very dissatisfied). Pediatric hospitalists tend to report higher levels of satisfaction on our survey no matter what question is asked.
Other distinctions emerge when looking at different types of hospitalist groups. The most satisfied hospitalists, for example, tend to work for universities/medical schools, where 71% say they’re extremely or very satisfied in their careers. Among hospitalists working for national hospitalist management companies, on the other hand, only 55.7% report being extremely or very satisfied. That percentage falls to 50% for those working for locum companies.
The good and the bad
What factors make hospitalists feel satisfied or unsatisfied? According to our data, hospitalists are most satisfied with clinical autonomy. A full 75% say they’re extremely or very satisfied with clinical autonomy, with only 9% somewhat or very unsatisfied.
While the high numbers for autonomy are impressive, hospitalists say they’re not quite as satisfied with other aspects of their careers. For all the other career attributes we asked hospitalists to rank, the number who report being extremely or very satisfied drops sharply.
Take schedule flexibility, work schedule and current duties, for example: Just over half of hospitalists say they’re extremely or very satisfied. As for type of shifts worked, number of hours worked and pay, not quite half of hospitalists report being extremely or very satisfied. And in areas like career growth, opportunity for promotion and pay structure, only about one-third of hospitalists say they’re extremely or very satisfied.
Then there are factors that hospitalists are dissatisfied with. Leading that pack is the management of their hospitals, a factor that more than one-third of hospitalists say they’re somewhat or very dissatisfied with.
Next on the list of dissatisfiers were promotion opportunities (32% say they’re somewhat or very dissatisfied), group management (31%) and career growth (29%).
On a related note, we asked hospitalists to rank how much respect they feel they receive. In many ways, the results of these questions mirror the data above.
When asked if hospitalists feel respected by the peers in their group, 87% of our respondents answered “yes.” Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they feel respected by their nonhospitalist peers, and more than two-thirds (65%) said their opinions count in decisions made by their group. But only one-half of hospitalists said that their group’s input is factored into decisions made by their hospital’s administration.