The first year of private practice - new graduate physiotherapists are highly engaged and satisfied but edging toward burnout

Kerrie Evans, Amy Papinniemi, Viana Vuvan, Vaughan Nicholson, Hila Dafny, Tamina Levy, Lucy Chipchase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A greater understanding of physiotherapists’ work-life during their first year of work in private practice, and whether their experiences are mediated by personal traits, may provide valuable information to support their transition and retention. 

Objectives: Describe the first year of practice for graduate physiotherapists in terms of employee engagement, job satisfaction, performance, and burnout, and evaluate the relationship between these measures and personal traits (resilience, grit, mind-set). 

Design: One-year longitudinal mixed-methods study. 

Methods: Twenty new graduate physiotherapists completed questionnaires evaluating resilience, grit, and mind-set within 1-week of commencing employment. Engagement and job satisfaction were evaluated at 3, 6 and 12-months, and burnout evaluated at 12-months. Performance data (number of patients seen, revenue) were collected throughout the year. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted at baseline, 3, 9 and 12-months. 

Results: Engagement and satisfaction were high at all time points. At 12-months, burnout was at a medium level. Resilience was positively associated with job satisfaction at 6 (ρ = 0.56, p = .019) and 12-months (ρ = 0.54, p = .027). Engagement (ρ = −0.57, p = .04) and job satisfaction (ρ = −0.56, p = .03) were negatively associated with burnout at 12-months. All participants remained passionate about their work although increasing administrative burden and patient complexity contributed to feelings of burnout. 

Conclusions: Resilience was positively associated with job satisfaction suggesting those with capacity to ‘bounce back’ were more satisfied and engaged with their job. Although moderate levels of burnout were reported at 12-months, those with higher job satisfaction and employee engagement had lower levels of burnout. Participants proposed practical strategies to help mitigate burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice: An International Journal of Physiotherapy
Early online date19 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Graduate preparedness
  • grit
  • resilience
  • retention
  • transition

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