Seeking Greener Pastures? The Relationship between Career Satisfaction and the Intention to Emigrate: A Survey of Ghanaian Physicians

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International Health






Background: A significant number of physicians from developing nations emigrate to developed nations in search of better career opportunities. In addition to crippling the health systems of developing nations, the emigration of physicians from sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries results in a loss of return on investment to these nations. The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between career satisfaction and the intention of active Ghanaian physicians to leave the country within the next 5 years.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional correlational study using data from a survey of practicing physicians in Ghana. The primary independent variables examined were dimensions of career satisfaction, assessed using an abridged form of the Physician Work Life Survey.

Results: Data from the multivariate ordered logistic regression model indicated that physicians who were house officers or medical officers and those who reported dissatisfaction with their compensation were more likely to report that they were thinking about leaving Ghana within the next 5 years.

Conclusions: Health policies aimed at increasing monetary compensation and providing junior physicians with the resources needed to excel in their careers may improve the retention of physicians in Ghana.