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Open Access Research article

Practice assistants in primary care in Germany – associations with organizational attributes on job satisfaction

Amina Gavartina1, Stavria Zaroti1, Joachim Szecsenyi1, Antje Miksch1, Dominik Ose1, Stephen M Campbell12 and Katja Goetz1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

2 Centre for Primary Care, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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BMC Family Practice 2013, 14:110  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-110

Published: 5 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Job satisfaction and organizational attributes in primary care teams are important issues as they affect clinical outcomes and the quality of health care provided. As practice assistants are an integral part of these teams it is important to gain insight into their views on job satisfaction and organizational attributes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the job satisfaction of practice assistants and the organizational attributes within their general practices in Germany and to explore the existence of possible associations.

Methods

This observational study was based on a job satisfaction survey and measurement of organizational attributes in general practices in the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Job satisfaction was measured with the 10-item ‘Warr-Cook-Wall job satisfaction scale’. Organizational attributes were evaluated with the 21-items ‘survey of organizational attributes for primary care’ (SOAPC). Linear regression analyses were performed in which each of SOAPC scales and the overall score of SOAPC was treated as outcome variables.

Results

586 practice assistants out of 794 respondents (73.8%) from 234 general practices completed the questionnaire. Practice assistants were mostly satisfied with their colleagues and least of all satisfied with their income and recognition for their work. The regression analysis showed that ‘freedom of working method’ and ‘recognition of work’, the employment status of practice assistants and the mode of practice were almost always significantly associated with each subscale and overall score of SOAPC.

Conclusions

Job satisfaction is highly associated with different aspects of organizational attributes for primary care (‘communication’, ‘decision-making’ and ‘stress’). Consequently, improved job satisfaction could lead to a better-organized primary care team. This implication should be investigated directly in further intervention studies with a special focus on improving the recognition for work and income.

Keywords:
General practice; Practice assistant; Organizational attributes; Job satisfaction; Primary health care