Physicians' professional performance: An occupational health psychology perspective
M.J.M.H. LombartsM.J. Heineman
26 February 2016
Number of pages
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
In modern medical practice, multiple demands and high workloads challenge physician well-being. Physician well-being is considered
a precondition for optimal health care. Physicians’ work-related well-being can be indicated by their work engagement, which
is considered the opposite of burnout. We studied the association between physician work engagement and their professional
performance, in physicians’ roles as doctors and teachers. In their doctor role, physician well-being or work engagement could
positively affect their clinical performance, including interpersonal aspects (such as informing patients) and patient satisfaction.
On the other hand, when patients evaluated physicians’ outpatient care behaviors, work-engaged physicians did not necessarily
perform better than their low-engaged peers. Exploring physicians’ teacher roles, we did observe better teaching performance
of engaged physicians. That is, physicians who were specifically engaged in their teacher work were evaluated by residents
as better performing supervisors. On average however, physicians were more engaged for their doctor work than for their teacher
work. To foster physician work engagement, the job resources autonomy and opportunities to learn and develop could be optimized.
In addition, work engagement in specific physician roles could be facilitated by individualized career paths and faculty development
programs, as (partly) different personality traits showed to facilitate doctor versus teacher work engagement. Given the positive
associations between physician work engagement and aspects of their performance, physician well-being could be adopted as
one of the potentially helpful ingredients in policies for optimal patient care and residency training.
Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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