Junior doctors : morale, job satisfaction, stress and their interrelationships
Research and anecdote suggest that . the morale of doctors is low. Consequences of this in medicine include poor communication, faulty decision making, and poor interpersonal relationships. This works assesses the morale of pre-registration house officers (PRHOs), using the proxy measures of job satisfaction and mental and physical ill-health manifestations of stress, and follows one group over a period of eighteen months to determine whether morale improves over this time. Data collections was by modified postal questionnaire and consisted of self reported job satisfaction and mental and physical ill-health, life style data and career information. Data was obtained in three separate studies, comprising : 234 eligible PRHOs working within the West Midlands in 1993 (response rate of 83.6%) : A follow up study of the respondents to the original west Midlands survey (response rate 80.4%) : 828 eligible PRHOs working in the West Midlands, Bristol, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield (response rate of 58.9%) PRHOs and SHOs had significantly lower scores for job satisfaction and significantly higher scores for mental and physical ill-health than comparative groups. Female PRHOs and SHOs had significantly higher scores for ill-health than male PRHOs. Some improvement in job satisfaction was seen in the 18 month period from PRHO to SHO, but there was no significant change in well being during this time. As a result of this work, a stress counselling and management service has been made available in the West Midlands, an "Introduction to being a House Officer" course begun in the final year at Birmingham Medical School, and a "Stress Survival Guide" book published.