AbstractsSocial Work

A comparative study on challenges in the psychosocial work environment of Finnish and foreign-born general practitioners

by Hannamaria Kuusio

Institution: University of Helsinki
Department: Hjelt Institute; National Institute for Health and Welfare, Health and Social Services, Service System Research Unit
Year: 2014
Keywords: kansanterveystiede
Record ID: 1141660
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/42613


The shortage of general practitioners (GPs) threatens the effective functioning of public primary health care in many countries. Working as a GP has lost much of its attractiveness as a career option also among Finnish physicians during the past 15 years, and foreign-born physicians are being increasingly recruited to primary health care. The first aim of the present study was to examine the psychosocial work environment of physicians and how it is associated with their wellbeing and future career plans. GPs were compared to medical specialists and private physicians. The second aim of the study was to investigate the process of foreign-born physicians entering their profession in Finland and also to explore their job satisfaction, work-related stressors and future career interests. The study data was obtained from two surveys conducted in 2006 and 2010 among random samples of Finnish physicians (N=2,841, response rate 57%; and N=3780, response rate 56%, respectively). In 2010, a survey of all foreign-born physicians resident in Finland (N=1,292) was also conducted (553 respondents, response rate 43%). Qualitative theme interviews were conducted with foreign-born physicians in Finnish primary health care to explore their work history, career choices and plans, job satisfaction and health. The results showed that the work ability and self-rated health of Finnish GPs were lower than those of Finnish medical specialists and private physicians. Finnish GPs and medical specialists both reported more psychological distress than private physicians. Wellbeing differences were to some extent explained by higher job stressors among public-sector physicians. Furthermore, Finnish GPs expressed their intention to leave their job more often than other Finnish physicians. For foreign-born physicians, the extensive and challenging licensing process slowed down their career possibilities, particularly among physicians trained outside the EU/EEA. The job satisfaction of foreign-born public-sector physicians was lower than that of foreign-born private physicians, and they also reported higher work-related stressors. Foreign-born GPs more often expressed an intention to leave primary health care than foreign-born medical specialists, private physicians or Finnish GPs. The present study suggests that the retention of both Finnish and foreign-born GPs will remain a challenge due to the more often expressed intention among GPs to leave primary health care and higher stressors in comparison to private physicians. Investing in a more efficient and monicultural human resource policy in primary health care and giving GPs more influence in decisions concerning their work could attract more GPs to primary health care - both native and foreign. Lääkäripula on osaltaan kriisiyttänyt terveydenhuoltoa ja vaikeuttanut palvelujen saatavuutta. Ilmiö näkyy erityisesti terveyskeskuksissa. Tilanteen helpottamiseksi suunnatut toimet eivät ole Suomessa toistaiseksi osoittautuneet tehokkaiksi. Monessa maassa maahanmuutto ja ulkomaalaisten lääkärien…