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Can J Psychiatry. 2006 Jul;51(8):512-22.

Cornerstones of career satisfaction in medicine.

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MERCURi Group, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.



To establish a reliable and concise measure of career satisfaction that covers all 4 of its dimensions and to document higher dimensions of satisfaction among the major medical specialties and across varying patterns of clinical practice.


In 2004, we conducted a stratified, cross-sectional survey of physicians in Canada. Of the eligible population, 2810 physicians (56.7%) responded. We checked response bias and found it was negligible. Responding physicians completed a 17-item measure of career satisfaction along with a detailed breakdown of clinical, academic, and administrative duties. We used confirmatory factor analysis to verify the existence of the hypothesized dimensions of higher-order satisfaction. We then used Scheffe's tests to document differences in the levels of all satisfaction dimensions, both among specializations and by clinical practice profile.


Factor analysis revealed 4 reliable dimensions of satisfaction: personal (alpha = 0.85), professional (alpha = 0.78), inherent (alpha = 0.70), and performance (alpha = 0.75). Inherent satisfaction with medicine as a career was the most important dimension for all specializations and for all patterns of practice. The addition of administrative duties without a reduction of clinical duties compromised personal, professional, and performance dimensions of career satisfaction. Academic duties contributed significantly to most physicians' overall, inherent, and performance satisfaction.


Distinguishing higher-order dimensions of satisfaction from basic ones is a groundbreaking finding because addressing higher-order dimensions supports self-actualization and superior performance of duties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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