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Job Characteristics and Job Satisfaction Among Physicians Involved With Research in the Veterans Health Administration

Mohr, David C. PhD; Burgess, James F. Jr. PhD

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182223b76
Careers in Academic Medicine
Abstract

Purpose: Research conducted by physicians generates knowledge and has led to important advances and changes in the health care system. Physician retention is a concern facing many health care systems, and job satisfaction and attitudes play a role in retention. This study examined whether physicians who are involved with research have greater job satisfaction and more positive job characteristics perceptions.

Method: Cross-sectional analysis examined this research question using a sample of 7,734 physicians across 135 medical centers in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2008. Using existing survey results, ratings on job characteristics (job autonomy, skill development opportunities, work and family balance, and performance feedback) and job satisfaction were regressed on research involvement in a multilevel hierarchical generalized linear model. The model controlled for physician-level characteristics and organization-level characteristics related to research activities.

Results: Analyses revealed that physicians who spent part of their time involved with research activities were more likely to report favorable job characteristics ratings. Physicians involved with research were also more likely to be satisfied with their job. Physicians who worked in medical centers with greater levels of research funding were more likely to report favorable ratings for job characteristics and job satisfaction.

Conclusions: Involvement with research was associated with more favorable job characteristics and job satisfaction perceptions among physicians in VA. Although there is a time and opportunity cost involved with research, medical centers that provide physicians with the opportunity to conduct research may have a more satisfied workforce.

Author Information

Dr. Mohr is investigator, Center for Organization, Leadership and Management Research, VA Boston Healthcare System, and research assistant professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Burgess is senior investigator, Center for Organization, Leadership and Management Research, VA Boston Healthcare System, and professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Mohr, VA Boston Healthcare System (152M), 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130; telephone: (857) 364-5679; e-mail: david.mohr2@va.gov.

First published online June 20, 2011

Editor's Note: A commentary on this article appears on page 923.

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges