OBJECTIVE: This study explores interprofessional relations by identifying factors associated with variations in how DCs evaluate their interaction with MDs. It also adapts a previously validated multifaceted measure of MD job satisfaction for use with DCs.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey of 311 DC physicians in North Carolina. RESULTS: The hypothesized multifaceted nature of DC job satisfaction was confirmed. Four distinct job facets and global career satisfaction were measured effectively in DCs. DCs' career satisfaction is related to satisfaction with compensation, intrinsic motivation of relating to patients, and having positive relationships with DC colleagues. DCs report referring patients to MDs more often than they report MDs referring patients to them. Satisfaction with relationships between DCs and MDs is relatively low and is strongly linked to the quantity of referrals from MDs and the perception that MDs practice collaboratively with DCs. However, DCs' global career satisfaction is unrelated to their relationships with MDs.
CONCLUSION: Global career satisfaction of DCs is relatively high and unaffected by the low level of satisfaction DCs report having with their relationships with MDs. These findings suggest that despite increasing interaction and interdependence, DCs' relationship with MDs is of minor importance in their professional self-image.
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