J Clin Outcomes Manage
Following morale over time within an academic hospitalist division
Chandra S, Wright SM, Kargul GJ, Howell EE
Abstract: Background: Demand for hospitalist physicians continues to rise. Despite high provider satisfaction, hospitalist recruitment and retention remain a challenge. Improving hospitalist morale may be one potential solution. Objective: To assess perceptions of morale among the faculty members of our academic hospitalist division. Methods: As part of our yearly cross-sectional data collection, all physician and midlevel hospitalists complete an anonymous survey. In 2007, we added 7 questions to the survey, asking respondents to assess their morale at work, rate the morale of their colleagues in the division, and assess the work environment. Results: Response rates across the years 2007–2009 ranged from 76% to 80%. Almost all hospitalists (98%) knew what was expected of them at work, and the majority (88%) felt their coworkers were committed to quality work. Seventy percent of hospitalists expressed “a lot” or a “tremendous” commitment to making the division outstanding. There were no statistically significant differences in the responses across the 3 years (all p > 0.05). While only 22% of hospitalists reported their own morale as fair, poor, or terrible, 43% perceived the group’s morale to be fair, poor or terrible (p = 0.005). Conclusion: This study highlights the consistency in the assessment of both personal morale and group morale over time within a group of physicians collaborating within a division. Why self-assessed personal morale at work remained steadily higher than respondents’ perceptions of the morale of their colleagues is curious. Peer-to-peer communication about morale might allow physicians to reassure their colleagues about their outlook on their work, thereby facilitating an overall enhancement in the esprit de corps.
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