Physicians' Perceptions of Institutional and Leadership Factors Influencing Their Job Satisfaction at One Academic Medical Center

Demmy, Todd L. MD; Kivlahan, Coleen MD, MSPH; Stone, Tamara T. PhD; Teague, Lynn MD; Sapienza, Pam RN, MBA

Academic Medicine:
Research Reports

Purpose: Academic physicians' perceptions about their institution's function and leadership should provide insights toward improving faculty recruitment and retention.

Method: The authors surveyed 105 non-management and non-emeritus physicians who had been hired by (57%) or left (43%) the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine (MUHC) in 1991–1998. The questionnaire measured both the importance and the availability of 14 institutional and leadership factors and the physicians' perceptions of satisfaction with their careers. Open-ended questions assessed additional concerns.

Results: In all, 56% of the overall satisfaction scores were unfavorable and, when grouped by faculty department, correlated inversely with departure rates (p = .04). Scores were surprisingly similar between those who left and those who remained at the institution. “Protected time for research or personal use” was the highest faculty priority regardless of level of overall satisfaction. “Equitable distribution of salary/resources” (p = .007) and “trust—communication with chair/division head” (p = .003) predicted good satisfaction independently. Openended responses for remaining at the university related to the pleasant local community (49%), intellectual issues (46%), and humanitarian issues (5%). Responses for considering opportunities elsewhere were administrative frustration (59%), income enhancement (18%), career advancement (9%), academic frustration (9%), and other (5%). Recommendations for enhancing recruitment and retention were fix administrative concerns (45%); improve research (20%), income (9%), physician support (9%), clinical programs (8%), and autonomy (5%); and other (4%).

Conclusions: Surveying physicians who were recently hired or who have left an institution provides useful information to promote organizational changes that could improve physician retention.

Author Information

Dr. Demmy was associate professor, Department of Surgery, the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine.

Dr. Kivlahan was associate dean and director of health improvement, the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine.

Dr. Stone was assistant professor, Department of Health Management and Informatics, the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine.

Dr. Teague was associate professor of clinical surgery and child health, the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine.

Ms. Sapienza was associate director/chief nurse executive, Patient Care Services, the University of Missouri—Columbia School of Medicine.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Demmy, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263; telephone: (716) 845-5873; fax: (716) 845-7692; e-mail: 〈〉.

Dr. Demmy is now chief of thoracic surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York.

The authors thank the other members of the Physician Incentive Group of the 1999 Millennium Professional Development course for their assistance in the survey and preparation of this manuscript: Richard Moore, PharmD, Thomas Selva, MD, Marla Hegadorn, MS, RN, Donna McCluskey, MD.

© 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges