Job satisfaction among healthcare professionals in area military health unit KwaZulu-Natal.
The current legislation in South Africa, namely the White Paper on Transformation of the Public Sector published on the 15 November 1995 by the Department of Public Service and Administration, addresses the need for transformation in the delivery of Public Services. The aim of this transformation process is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the way in which public services should be rendered, with the emphasis on customer focused ways of working. The South African Military Health Services (SAMHS) as a public service healthcare organisation within the South African Department of Defence (SANDF) is also governed by the White Paper on transformation, and is constantly reminded of the call for improved service delivery to its clientele. According to Schenke (2001:8) it is critical to understand that an interdependent relationship exists between employee satisfaction and customer satisfection, and therefore an organisation would need to focus on both these assets. An integral part of optimising service delivery in the SAMHS and improving customer satisfection, would be to ensure job satisfection among the healthcare professionals who render the services. Spytak, Marsland and Ulmer (1999:26) noted that satisfied employees tend to be more productive, creative and committed to their jobs. A study was therefore undertaken to review job satisfection among health care professionals in a sample population in the SAMHS. The study examined the main contributing factors that affected job satisfection, and determined if there were differences in terms of job satisfection across the demographic variables of age, gender, marital status, employees with or without children and tenure. Finally it explored the correlation between job satisfection levels and intention to leave. The study constituted a comparative cross-sectional study of 61 healthcare professionals based at Area Military Health Unit KwaZulu Natal (AMHU KZN). The research methodology adopted in this study was a quantitative survey. Statistical analyses were completed using ANOVA'S, Pearson's Correlations and Factor Analysis. The results of the study indicated that there were four major contributing factors affecting job satisfection and these included, career management, strategic management and support, the nature of the work itself and interpersonal dynamics. There were no differences noted in job satisfection across the demographic variables of age, gender, marital status, employees with or without children and tenure. However results did indicate that there was a strong correlation between total job satisfaction and propensity to leave. A strong correlation was also found with each of the four main components affecting job satisfection, namely career management, strategic management and support, the nature of the work itself, interpersonal dynamics, and propensity to leave. Recommendations were made to the SAMHS with regard to job enrichment, compensation systems, staffing and promotions, and management style. The implementation of these recommendations could assist in improving the levels of job satisfection among health care professionals. The study also recommended further research to better understand issues that could impact on job satisfection of health care professionals in the military environment.