Large Gap Between Job Experience and Expectations

Hospitals aren't doing as well as they think when it comes to physician satisfaction and experience with key cultural attributes at work.

Hospitals aren’t doing as well as they think when it comes to physician satisfaction and experience with key cultural attributes at work, according to a new study.

The study, by Physician Wellness Services and Cejka Search, looked at 14 cultural attributes and how they influence a physician’s overall satisfaction. Furthermore the study explored physicians’ perceptions about their organizations’ performances while a companion study researched what the organizations believe.

Hospital administrators understand what cultural attributes are important to physicians’ satisfaction; however, they believe their organizations do a better job than physicians said the organizations perform.

“The study clearly shows areas of disconnect between what physicians look for and what they find — and what organizations think they provide,” Dan Whitlock, MD, Physician Wellness Services consulting physician, said in a statement.

Closing this gap between physicians’ and administrators’ perceptions is important to increase not only job satisfaction, but also loyalty, according to Whitlock. An earlier study by Cejka and the American Medical Group Association revealed that the first two years are particularly important as turnover rates are highest during that time period.

This study revealed that physicians named expectations of cultural fit as a determining factor with half of respondents agreeing that a lack of cultural fit caused them to leave the job. Administrators said that cultural fit was a factor just one-third of the time.

“Cultural fit is a determining factor in a physician’s decision to join — or leave — a practice,” said David Cornett, Senior Executive Vice President of Cejka Search. “Because turnover and prolonged physician vacancy can cost a practice as much as $100,000 per month, organizations can achieve significant returns by investing in the assessment and cultivation of cultural fit.”

The most important cultural attribute for physicians is that the organization has a patient-centered care focus. It is important to note that this attribute had the smallest gap between physicians’ expectations and how well they believe their organizations address it.

The attributes with the largest gaps between expectations and actual experience were transparent communication, collaborative leadership style and organizational adaptation to change.

“Administrators’ mistaken belief that their organizations are demonstrating competence when their physicians feel differently can lead to decreased efforts to create cultural congruence,” Robert Stark, MD, Physician Wellness Services consulting physician, said in a statement. “As more physicians become employed, consolidation continues, and work toward health care reform proceeds, physician engagement has become increasingly urgent while health care organizations work to develop models and systems to improve care and reduce costs.”