Job Satisfaction of Health Practitioners Providing Outreach Health Services during COVID-19 in Rural New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia

Article


Islam, Md Irteja, Bagnulo, Sharif, Wang, Yiwen, Ramsden, Robyn, Wrightson, Trent, Masset, Amanda, Colbran, Richard, Edwards, Mike and Martiniuk, Alexandra. 2023. "Job Satisfaction of Health Practitioners Providing Outreach Health Services during COVID-19 in Rural New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia." Healthcare. 11 (1). https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11010003
Article Title

Job Satisfaction of Health Practitioners Providing Outreach Health Services during COVID-19 in Rural New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia

ERA Journal ID212680
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsIslam, Md Irteja, Bagnulo, Sharif, Wang, Yiwen, Ramsden, Robyn, Wrightson, Trent, Masset, Amanda, Colbran, Richard, Edwards, Mike and Martiniuk, Alexandra
Journal TitleHealthcare
Journal Citation11 (1)
Article Number3
Number of Pages17
Year2023
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN2227-9032
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11010003
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/11/1/3
Abstract

Background: Outreach health practitioners play a key role in enhancing access to healthcare for remote, rural, regional, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. Outreach health practitioners are those providing ongoing and integrated health services in communities that would otherwise have limited access. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand the job satisfaction of health workers as it correlates with long-term retention of the workforce, as well as effectiveness in the role and clinical outcomes for patients.

Method: The study analysed data from 258 outreach health practitioners who responded to two cross-sectional surveys conducted by the NSW Rural Doctors Network during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/21 and 2021/22 in NSW and the ACT, Australia. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were employed to assess the associations between the outcome variable (outreach health practitioners’ job satisfaction) and independent variables (sociodemographic factors, motivation, self-confidence, communication, capability).

Results: Overall, the study showed that 92.2% of health practitioners were satisfied in their role providing outreach health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the multivariable model, factors significantly associated with higher satisfaction included good communication with other local health practitioners, using telehealth along with in-person care, and having high self-rated capability compared to those health practitioners who said they had lower job satisfaction.

Conclusions: Outreach health practitioners’ job satisfaction is important because poor satisfaction may lead to suboptimal healthcare delivery, poor clinical outcomes, and poor retention of staff in rural settings. These findings should be taken into consideration when developing future strategies to improve job satisfaction among rural outreach health practitioners and to enhance attraction, recruitment and retention and may be applicable to the broader health workforce.

Keywordsoutreach health services; health practitioners; health workforce; job satisfaction; rural; COVID-19; pandemic; health professionals; telehealth; communication; capability; referral
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420305. Health and community services
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Sydney
Centre for Health Research
NSW Rural Doctors Network, Australia
Australasian College of Health Service Management
Deakin University
George Institute for Global Health, Australia
University of Toronto, Canada
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