Job satisfaction of dentists in the public sector in the Western Cape

Bailey, Sidney Lloyd (2002-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It can safely be assumed that work is a central part of people's daily activities in modem times, and dentists and other health workers are no exception to this rule. The following benefits have been ascribed to having a job, namely that of being a source of money, activity, variety, temporal structure, social contacts, status and identity in society. To what extent does the job as dentist in the civil service provide fulfilment of these basic requirements of having a satisfying job? Considering the number of resignations in recent years of state employed dentists and the well known and often reported "brain drain" of South African professionals, it is important to assess the status of job satisfaction amongst our health professionals, especially those within the state employ. These dentists are responsible for the health care delivery to the impoverished masses who make up a large proportion of the South African population. This study set out to determine the level of job satisfaction among state dentists and how this is perceived by them and reflected in their work performance. It was the aim of the researcher to provide some insight into the working lives of a very important sector of the primary health care providers employed by the Department of Health of the Western Cape Provincial Government. The outcome of the study could be used as a basis for further research in this area. A survey was conducted among all state employed dentists in the Western Cape, excluding dentists attached to the military or academic institutions. The survey instrument consisted of a structured, quantitative questionnaire as well as an open-ended section for comment on specific issues. Furthermore, an indepth semi-structured interview was conducted with one dentist in order to write a case report on the work experience of a state employed dentist.The major fmdings of this study are the following: i) The main determinants of job satisfaction revolve around the work environment, and dentists in state employ enjoy staff support, feel good about what they do for patients, and the standard of work done, but are unhappy about income, lack of respect by patients, senior management and colleagues in private practice. Limited treatment options, poor procurement systems and frequent breakdown of equipment affect their sense of job satisfaction negatively. ii) The level of dissatisfaction is not of such a proportion to persuade them to leave the service, as most dentists would like to remain in their posts. However, most dentists agree that there are no incentives for improving work performance. iii) Dentists responded to their sense of job satisfaction in different ways. While some admitted that their performance is directly linked to how well it is going at work, a large percentage of respondents reported that they do not allow their work performance to be influenced by their perceived job dissatisfaction. iv) Ifwe look at the case study, it is evident that perceived satisfaction or dissatisfaction depends on the individual and how he or she views the world. In this particular case the dentist was very realistic about his ambitions as a person and as a dentist, and set goals for himself within these boundaries. The result is that he remains motivated and satisfied.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit kan geredelik aanvaar word dat werk die kern uitmaak van mense se daaglikse aktiwiteite, en tandartse en ander gesondheidswerkers is geen uitsondering nie. Die volgende voordele word aan werk toegeskryf: bron van inkomste, aktiwiteit, afwisseling, tydsindeling, sosiale omgang, status en posisie in die gemeenskap. Tot watter mate voldoen die werk van 'n tandarts in die staatsdiens aan die basiese vereistes van 'n bevredigende werk? As mens die getal bedankings van tandartse uit die staatsdiens oor die afgelope jare in ag neem, asook die welbekende en gereeld vermelde "brein trein" van professionele mense in Suid-Afrika, voel mens dis belangrik om vas te stel watter werksbevrediging heers onder gesondheidspersoneel, veral diegene in die staatsdiens. Tandartse in die staatsdiens is verantwoordelik vir gesondheidsdienslewering aan die arm massas, wat die oorgrote meerderheid uitmaak van die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking. Hierdie studie was daarop gemik om die werksbevredigingsvlak van staatstandartse vas te stel, asook hoe hulle dit ervaar en demonstreer in hul werkverrigting. Die navorser het dit ten doel gehad om insig te bring in die werksbestaan van 'n baie belangrike komponent van gesondheidswerkers in diens van die Departement van Gesondheid in die Wes-Kaapse Provinsiale Regering. Die bevindinge van die studie kan dien as basis vir verdere navorsing op hierdie gebied. 'n Meningspeiling is onderneem onder staatstandartse in die Wes-Kaap, met tandartse verbonde aan die weermag en akademiese instellings uitgesluit. Die opname-instrument het bestaan uit 'n gestruktureerde kwantitatiewe vraelys saam met 'n afdeling vir kommentaar oor spesifieke knelpunte. Verder was daar 'n semi-gestruktureerde diepte-onderhoud gevoer met een tandarts om verslag te doen oor 'n gevallestudie rakende die werksondervinding van 'n staatstandarts. Die kembevindinge van die studie was: i) Die belangrikste determinante van werksbevrediging betrek die werksomstandighede. Terwyl tandartse ondersteuning geniet van hul mede-personeel, goed voeloor hul diens aan pasiente, en die standaard van hul werk, voel hulle ongelukkig oor inkomste, gebrek aan respek van pasiente, senior bestuur en kollegas in die privaat sektor. Beperkte behandelingskeuses, swak voorsieningsisteme en knaende gebrek aan toerusting affekteer hul werksbevrediging negatief. ii) Die mate van werksbevrediging is nie van so 'n aard dat dit hulle motiveer om die diens te verlaat nie, want die meeste tandartse wil hul poste behou. Die meeste tandartse voel egter dat daar nie enige aanmoediging bestaan vir verbeterde werkverrigting nie. iii) Tandartse reageer verskillend op hul menmg omtrent werksbevrediging. Terwyl sommige erken dat hul werkverrigting direk gekoppel is aan hoe goed dit by die werk gaan, het 'n groot persentasie van deelnemers aan die opname aangedui dat hulle nie toelaat dat hul werkverrigting deur hulonbevredigende werksomstandighede geaffekteer word nie iv) As ons die gevallestudie beskou, is dit duidelik dat of bevrediging ondervind word, al dan nie, van die individu afhang, en sy of haar lewensbeskouing. In hierdie spesifieke geval, was die tandarts baie realisties omtrent sy ambisie as persoon en as tandarts, en het sy doelwitte binne hierdie perke gestel. Die uitslag is dat hy gemotiveerd en bevredig bly.

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