Physician work engagement is considered to benefit physicians’ professional performance in clinical teaching practice. Following an occupational health psychology perspective, this PhD report presents research on how physicians’ professional performance in both doctor and teacher roles can be facilitated by work engagement and how work engagement is facilitated by job resources and personality traits.
First, we conducted a systematic review on the impact of physician work engagement and related constructs (e. g. job satisfaction) on physicians’ performance in patient care. We additionally investigated physician work engagement and job resources in relation to patient care experience with physicians’ performance at ten outpatient clinics covering two hospitals. In a following multicentre survey involving 61 residency training programs of 18 hospitals, we studied associations between physician work engagement and personality traits with resident evaluations of physicians’ teaching performance.
The findings showed that physician work engagement was associated with fewer reported medical errors and that job satisfaction was associated with better communication and patient satisfaction. Autonomy and learning opportunities were positively associated with physician work engagement. Work engagement was positively associated with teaching performance. In addition, physician work engagement was most likely supported by personality trait conscientiousness (e. g. responsibility).
Given the reported associations of physician work engagement with aspects of their professional performance, hospitals could support physician work engagement in service of optimal performance in residency training and patient care. This could be facilitated by worker health surveillance, peer support or promoting job crafting at the individual or team level.