No one will deny the past few years have been challenging for all of us. How satisfied are early- and mid-career pediatricians over the past decade (pre-pandemic) and how has this been modified by the pandemic? Frintner et al (10.1542/peds.2021-055146) share with us a longitudinal analysis of data from the AAP’s Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study (PLACES) that asked annually about work satisfaction from 2012 to 2020 in two cohorts of residency graduates (one mid-career cohort (N=897) who graduated from their training programs in 2002-2004 and a second early career cohort (also N = 897) who graduated in 2009-2011.
The investigators looked annually at mean satisfaction scores for both cohorts using a validated survey tool and found that satisfaction scores overall remained high over the 9 years studied. Most (85.9%) study participants overall found their work personally rewarding in 2020, similar to the rate in 2012 (86.4%). However, 40% of both cohorts were frustrated with their current work situation, lowering their overall satisfaction score slightly.
The study also found that pediatricians whose overall satisfaction score increased over time were more likely to report flexibility in work hours and support from physician colleagues. Those whose satisfaction scores decreased over time were more likely to report increased stress balancing work and personal responsibilities and greater work hours. The authors do a variety of subgroup analyses that produce a number of interesting positive and negative associations with satisfaction, but I’ll leave you to satisfy your own curiosity of just what is keeping pediatricians more satisfied by linking to this study and seeing how your own level of satisfaction compares to those enrolled in the PLACES study.