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J Med Pract Manage. 2003 Jan-Feb;18(4):179-83.

What do physicians want in their ideal job?

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Department of Management and Marketing, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, 164 Alston Hall, Box 870225, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA.


This article explores the question of what physicians want in their "ideal job" using a nationally representative sample of physicians in ambulatory practice. The importance of ten work values was examined overall by specialty, practice setting, race/ethnicity, age, and gender. More than 90% of physicians rated the following as very important: good relationships with staff and colleagues; control of time off; adequate material resources; and autonomy in decision making. Remarkably, the relative importance of these work values remained consistent across each grouping. As more physicians practice in organized settings, there is a greater potential for a clash of work values to occur between physicians and their practice organizations. The consequences for physicians include lower job satisfaction and a greater likelihood of quitting. Practice organizations suffer through lower patient satisfaction and increased recruiting costs. Based on our findings, we offer five recommendations to maximize the well-being of physicians in ambulatory care settings.

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