Author(s): Chen HF, Lee CH, Chang RE
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Since the fee-for-service reimbursement mechanism has been under the global budget of the National Health Insurance program, physicians' workloads have been increasing. Attending physicians in medical centers usually have long working hours because of their clinical work as well as teaching, research, and other administrative responsibilities. Many studies regarding reasonable work hours for physicians have been undertaken globally, but few have been conducted in Taiwan. In this study, we focused on the difference in working hours among physicians in different departments. METHODS: Using attending physicians from a major teaching hospital as the study population, we adopted self-administered questionnaires to investigate physicians' time allocations for 4 major categories: clinical work, teaching, research, and administrative work. We distributed 432 questionnaires and received 380 filled-out questionnaires, yielding a response rate of 88\%. After eliminating questionnaires with incomplete responses, the valid sample size was 376. We used t test and 1-way ANOVA to analyze the association between physicians' characteristics and workload and used multiple linear regression to examine factors influencing physicians' work hours. RESULTS: The average weekly work time among attending physicians was 65.6 hours; physicians under the age of 40 worked an average of 69.8 hours. Males worked an average of 66.2 hours weekly and females an average of 62.7 hours. Total work hours and hours of clinical work, teaching, research, and administrative work all reached significant differences among departments. Physicians who were under 40 years old, those with a doctoral degree, those with a teaching position as associate professor or above, and those working in anesthesiology had longer total work hours. CONCLUSION: This study found that work hours among departments differed significantly and that physicians in surgical departments spend the longest hours in clinical work. Those in administrative positions are most involved in clinical work. However, work hours do not definitely represent work intensity, and to define the workload by working hours may be inappropriate for some departments. This possible difference between work hours and work intensity merits further consideration. Copyright 2010 Elsevier. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Chin Med Assoc
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy