FROM THE CEO
FROM THE CEO
FOUR SHORT WORDS but so critical to everything. Over the years, we have asked thousands of doctors thousands of survey questions. We have asked if you felt engaged, we have asked if you understood your budget, we have asked if you have been bullied, we have asked if you are working too hard (‘yes’ is the answer to that). However, this year was the first time we have asked both doctors-in-training and senior doctors, “Do you feel valued?”
We were prompted to ask the question from the number of meetings we were having with senior doctors who would say, “we just don’t feel valued.” Being valued is a strong question because it’s relevant. It is not asking if you feel happy – because being happy is a emotional judgement and not always relevant to the work you do. It is not asking if you feel engaged, because who knows what that means. Instead, is it asking a combination of those things. It gets to the heart of what matters to many doctors – do you feel the contribution you are making to your hospital is seen to be valuable? Being valued is not just about money – although that helps. It is about being listened to. It is about having the resources and support to do your job, and it is about the feeling that your being there and doing your work means something.
While we were aware of the concerns of senior doctors, we were still somewhat surprised to find that out of a survey of 1023 doctors in our Senior Doctor Pulse Check, only 31% said they felt valued. By contrast, in the recent hospital health check, 63% of doctors-in-training said they felt valued.
Unfortunately, the Hospital Health Check also indicated an increase in bullying with 50% of doctors-in-training reporting being bullied and senior doctors being reported as the main contributor. While not in any way excusing inappropriate or bullying behaviour, it still seems relevant to consider how much of an impact being overwhelmed and undervalued as a senior doctor is contributing to being able to be the strong and supportive supervisor our doctors-in-training need.
Each year, we watch as the demand for health services grows. Each year we marvel at the capacity of the NSW Health system to respond to that demand, including during COVID. For 2022, the question has to become – who is paying the price of that growth, and should it continue?