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Job Satisfaction Among Young Board-Certified Surgeons at Academic Centers in Europe and North America

Raptis, Dimitri Aristotle MD; Schlegel, Andrea MD; Tschuor, Christoph MD; Clavien, Pierre-Alain MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31827386eb
Original Articles From the ESA Proceedings

Objectives: To identify independent factors influencing job satisfaction of academic surgeons within their first 10 years after board certification.

Background Data: Job satisfaction is increasingly recognized as a crucial factor for high performance of individuals and teams in most organizations. Sophisticated tools are now available to assess job satisfaction in medicine.

Methods: A survey among 439 faculty surgeons from 16 European countries, United States, and Canada was conducted in 2011. Satisfaction at work was analyzed using the validated Global Job Satisfaction (GJS) instrument (score range, −36 to +36), modified to an extended version (eGJS) (score range, −87 to +87) covering additional personal and environmental factors. Independent factors were identified with multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: Response rate was high at 59% (439/744). Median age of responders was 39 years, with 17% women. North American surgeons scored higher on the eGJS when compared with Europeans (median: 21 vs. 33, respectively, P < 0.001). The surgical specialty with the highest median eGJS score was colorectal, whereas general surgery scored lowest (median: 33 vs 7, respectively, P = 0.002). On multivariate analysis, independent factors of high job satisfaction included protected time for research (odds ratio [OR]: 9), good team relationship (OR: 7), female sex (OR: 5), having a partner (OR: 4), feeling enthusiastic about work (OR: 4), being pleased with life accomplishments (OR: 4), having the standard of living one deserves (OR: 3), and clinical autonomy (OR: 3). In contrast, independent predictors of poor job satisfaction were feeling frustrated by work (ie, a burnout item) (OR: 37), worrying about per-sonal life at work (OR: 3), and having to work too many weekends (OR: 3).

Conclusions: Satisfaction in young faculty members mostly relates to research opportunities, clinical autonomy, burnout, and lifestyle. Understanding satisfaction factors may improve productivity and competence.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.Job satisfaction was assessed in board-certified academic surgeons within their first 10 years of practice, using a validated global job satisfaction instrument. Factors, most contributing to high satisfaction included research opportunities, clinical autonomy, and lifestyle.

*Department of Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Reprints: Pierre-Alain Clavien, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University Hospital of Zurich, Raemistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.