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Dentists working in different practice settings report differences in job satisfaction. (Photograph: Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock)
0 Comments Aug 13, 2015 | News Americas

Dentists in small group practices are most satisfied

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CHICAGO, USA: Many factors influence the daily work of dental professionals and contribute to their overall job satisfaction, which in turn may affect their delivery of care and thus patient satisfaction. A new study has found that the level of satisfaction differs significantly between dentists in different practice settings.

For the study, 2,171 U.S. dentists working in small or large group or solo practices were surveyed about their satisfaction with income, benefits, hours worked, clinical autonomy, work–life balance, emotional exhaustion and overall satisfaction.

The researchers found that dentists working in small group settings reported the greatest satisfaction overall. They were more satisfied with their income and benefits and reported higher levels of income compared with dentists in solo practices.

Dentists working in large group settings also reported greater satisfaction with their income and higher levels of income than dentists in solo practices did. However, many dentists in large group practices were not satisfied with their work hours, scheduling and overall work–life balance, indicating that they felt they had less control over their work schedule. Despite reporting less overall satisfaction, these respondents felt less stressed compared with dentists in other practice settings, suggesting that they may benefit from other aspects of large group practice settings that serve to reduce stress level.

Moreover, the findings indicated that the reality of work, especially in large group practices, did not match dentists' expectations. Conclusions drawn from the study could thus help newly graduated dentists, for example, manage and adapt their expectations, and decide which practice setting is best for them.

According to the researchers, this is the first study to investigate satisfaction levels across different types of practice settings. Although it does not provide a conclusion about the best practice setting, they believe it provides important insights into key differences and the relationship between dentists' career satisfaction and various practice settings in the U.S.

The study, titled "Practice Settings and Dentists' Job Satisfaction," was published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. It was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago in collaboration with the American Dental Association.

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