Factors influencing career decisions of female doctors at Tshwane district hospital
Thesis (MFamMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Background: There is a shortage of medical doctors in the public sector in South Africa and retaining doctors is crucial. The gender profile of medicine is changing with more female than male graduates in South Africa. Research identified some of the reasons why doctors leave the public sector, but the factors influencing career decisions of female doctors at a district hospital have not been explored. Aim: To identify the factors that influence career choices of female doctors Tshwane District Hospital (TDH). Objectives: To describe the profile of female doctors at TDH, to explore how they experience their work and the relation it has to their family life, compare their level of job satisfaction and burnout with those of their male colleagues and to identify the factors that influence their career choices. Methods: The setting for the research is Tshwane District Hospital (TDH). A combination of qualitative and quantitative research techniques was used. Work-related challenges and factors influencing career decisions of female doctors were identified in an open in-depth focus group interview. The identified factors were validated through a self-administered questionnaire. Levels of job satisfaction and symptoms of burnout in female doctors were compared to those of males Results: Overtime duty, the workload at TDH, and problems with management were some of the identified challenges facing female doctors. Eight factors influencing career decisions of female doctors were identified. These include: having flexible working hours, being allowed to reduce overtime or work part-time, the salary, having benefits like maternity leave, having a predictable daily work schedule, the opportunity to work with under-privilege patients and having opportunity for academic stimulation and learning. The job satisfaction level of female doctors at TDH is comparable to those of males and both groups reported symptoms of burnout. Discussion: Young female doctors comprise the majority of the workforce at TDH. The challenges they face at work and at home contribute to diminished job satisfaction and a high incidence of symptoms of burnout. The resulting high turnover of doctors can negatively impact patient care. Recommendations: Improving working conditions and hospital management at TDH is needed. Considering work models that allow flexible work hours and part time work is recommended.
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