Job satisfaction of staff and the team environment in Australian general practice

Mark F Harris, Judy G Proudfoot, Upali W Jayasinghe, Christine H Holton, Gawaine P Powell Davies, Cheryl L Amoroso, Tanya K Bubner and Justin J Beilby
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (11): 570-573.


Objective: To study the work satisfaction of general practice staff, the differences between types of staff, and the individual and organisational factors associated with work satisfaction.

Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional multipractice study based on a self-completed job satisfaction survey of 626 practice staff in 96 general practices in Australia between 16 December 2003 and 8 October 2004.

Main outcome measures: Job satisfaction scores for all staff and for general practitioners alone; relationship between job satisfaction and the team climate, practice size, particular jobs within practices, demographic characteristics of participants, and geographical location of practices.

Results: The response rate was 65%. Job satisfaction was high, with a mean score of 5.66 (95% CI, 5.60–5.72). Multilevel analysis showed that all general practice staff were highly satisfied if they worked in a practice with a good team climate. Practice managers reported the highest satisfaction with their work. Practice size and individual characteristics such as the sex of the participant were unrelated to job satisfaction. GPs tended to have lower satisfaction than other staff in relation to income, recognition for good work and hours of work. Rural GPs were more satisfied.

Conclusions: Most general practice staff are satisfied with their work. Facilitating teamwork may be a key strategy for both recruitment and retention of the general practice workforce, especially staff who are not GPs.

  • Mark F Harris1
  • Judy G Proudfoot1
  • Upali W Jayasinghe1
  • Christine H Holton2
  • Gawaine P Powell Davies1
  • Cheryl L Amoroso1
  • Tanya K Bubner2
  • Justin J Beilby2

  • 1 Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.



This study was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. We thank the participating general practices and their staff, and the participating Divisions of General Practice for their assistance in recruiting practices and assisting practices with the feedback provided to them. We also thank Jane Grimm, Edward Swan, and Chris Barton for their valuable contribution, and Jane Hamilton, Sarah Ford and Evelyn Eckert for their administrative support, as well as the other staff of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales and the Department of General Practice, University of Adelaide. Thanks also to Sheryl Scharkie, Roy Batterham, Heidi DePaoli and Robyn Alexander for their assistance with data collection.

Competing interests:

None identified.

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