Employment, psychosocial work environment and well-being among migrant and native physicians in Finnish health care

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Abstract

Background: Although international migration of physicians is increasing, research information on their adjustment to working in a new country is scarce. This study examined the differences in employment, perceptions of psychosocial work environment and well-being between migrant and native physicians in Finland. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was sent to a random sample of physicians in Finland (N = 7000) and additionally to all foreign-born physicians licensed to practice in Finland (N = 1292). The final response rates were 56% (n = 3646) among native Finns and 43% (n = 553) among foreign-born physicians. Results: Migrant physicians worked more often in primary care and on-call services and less often in leadership positions than native Finns. They more often experienced lack of professional support and lower work-related well-being compared with native Finns. Those migrant physicians who had lived for a shorter time in Finland perceived less stress related to electronic patient records systems and higher organizational justice compared with native physicians or those foreign physicians who had migrated earlier. Conclusions: Foreign-born physicians are more often employed in the primary care sector, where there are most difficulties in recruiting from the native workforce in Finland. Attention should be paid to enhancing equitable career opportunities and well-being among foreign-born physicians working in Finnish health care. Although migrant physicians are relatively well adjusted to Finnish health care in terms of perceptions of psychosocial work environment, their lower well-being calls for attention.

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