Introduction and objectives
Cardiologists’ work distress has been seldom studied. The ItAliaN cardiologists’ Undetected distress Study survey was designed to assess prevalence of work distress and satisfaction, and to gain insight into associations among these constructs and socio-demographics and job description.
We invited members of our national cardiological society (Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri) to participate in an anonymous, self-report, exclusively web-based survey, posted on the Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri website. ItAliaN cardiologists’ Undetected distress Study included socio-demographics, job description and a 15-item questionnaire on job-related distress and work satisfaction.
Of 7393 invited cardiologists, 1064 completed the survey. Organizational problems and worries about medico-legal controversies were reported by 71% and 49% of participants, respectively; over one-third reported loss of enthusiasm, helplessness, work-life imbalance and lack of control over work. Conversely, 86% felt competent at work, 67% rewarded by the moral/human meaning of their work and 52% satisfied with their professional fulfilment. Factor analysis revealed a meaningful underlying structure including four factors: job strain, positive meaning, emotional fatigue and relational difficulties. Relational difficulties were more frequent in cardiologists working in primary-level than in secondary and tertiary care hospitals (P = 0.017 and P = 0.013, respectively). Interventional cardiologists reported higher positive meaning than those in the clinical inpatients area and outpatient diagnostic settings (P = 0.007 and P = 0.025, respectively) and lower emotional fatigue than subjects in the clinical inpatients area (P = 0.0005).
Cardiologists’ work distress should be interpreted integrating job-related negative aspects with a reappraisal of protective personal and relational resources, which should be fostered to promote physicians’ wellbeing at the individual, collective and organizational levels.