About 68 percent of healthcare providers in Bhutan are satisfied with their job, according to a survey conducted by the health ministry.

The survey was conducted this year to measure staff satisfaction level and its associated factors in healthcare facilities in the country. Salary and incentives, supervisor, workload, faculty management and infrastructure; training and opportunities, and stress management were used to assess health staff satisfaction in the country.

Of the 50 specific statements for job satisfaction, it was found that more than 50 percent of the healthcare providers were “most unsatisfied” with ex-country Continuing Medical Education (CME), career enhancement opportunities, duty travel opportunities; staff quarter allocation, promotion system, and in-country CME opportunities.

“Streamlining and improving these six areas of dissatisfaction will enhance our staff satisfaction,” Programme officer with the health ministry’s Quality Assurance and Standardisation Division, Kinley Wangchuk, said.

From a total of 2,824 health workers, 1,900 participated in the study with a participation rate of 67 percent. About 56 percent of the participants were male.

The study targeted some 3,111 health staff, including doctors, assistant clinical officers, nurses, health assistants, drungtshos, pharmacists, and technicians from the national referral hospital, two regional referral hospital, the traditional medicine hospital, 25 Basic Health Unit (BHU) grade I, 185 BHU grade II, 49 sub posts and 553 out-reach clinics in the country.

The survey revealed that 47 percent of health workers was aged between 17 and 30, while 34 percent are in the age group 31 to 40. Fourteen percent was aged between 41 and 50, and only 5 percent was aged between 51 and 60.

In terms of education level, the health sector has the highest health workers at certificate level at 55 percent, followed by diploma at 27 percent. About 15 percent of the health workers have Bachelor’s degree. Only three percent have masters or PhD.

The study also revealed that the average working hours of the doctors in the country is 41 hours a week and 43 hours for nurses. The average working hours for drungtsho and menpas, health assistants, basic health workers and clinical officer are 34 and 39 hours per week respectively.

Kinley Wangchuk said the overall average working hours of the health workers in Bhutan is 39 hours per week. International standard is 44 hours per week.

Going by the overall satisfaction rate by profession, 74 percent of the health assistants, basic health workers and clinical officer are “more satisfied”, followed by Drungtsho and mempas at 73 percent. The overall satisfaction rate of doctors and nurses are 62 and 63 percent respectively.

Dechen Tshomo