Job satisfaction of South African registered dietitians
CITATION: Visser, J., Mackenzie, A. & Marais, D. 2012. Job satisfaction of South African registered dietitians. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 25(3):112-119.
The original publication is available at http://www.sajcn.co.za
Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the overall level of job satisfaction among South African registered dietitians and possible relationships between the influencing factors. Design: The design was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Setting and subjects: A national survey was carried out among all dietitians registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, excluding community service dietitians. Outcome measures: A two-part, self-administered, adapted job satisfaction survey questionnaire was used. Demographic data were collected. The questionnaire covered nine themes pertaining to job satisfaction: salary, promotion, knowledge and skills, professional colleagues, being a member of the multidisciplinary team, communication, the work environment, rewards of the job and nature of the work. Results: A final response rate of 22.5% (n = 340) was obtained. South African registered dietitians were only slightly satisfied (65.7%) with their current employment. There was no significant difference (p-value = 0.291) pertaining to overall job satisfaction between those working and living overseas and those working and living in South Africa. Primarily, lower levels of satisfaction were observed to be due to poor salaries, lack of promotion opportunities and a poor perception of professional image. Significant positive correlations were found between age (p-value = 0.036), professional experience (p-value = 0.035), area of expertise (p-value = 0.001), hours of work (p-value = 0.021) and location of work (p-value = 0.00001). Conclusion: Although overall job satisfaction scores indicated that South African registered dietitians are only slightly satisfied with their employment, registered dietitians reported that they love the nature of the work and what they do, tending towards confirmation of career satisfaction. Recommendations include re-evaluation of registered dietitian salary scales, career pathing with promotion opportunities, boosting the professional image and expanding the teaching of nondietetic skills to dietetic undergraduates.