Working Overtime in Community Mental Health: Associations With Clinician Burnout and Perceived Quality of Care

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Abstract

Objective: Funding cuts have increased job demands and threatened clinicians’ ability to provide high-quality, person-centered care. One response to increased job demands is for clinicians to work more than their official scheduled work hours (i.e., overtime). We sought to examine the frequency of working overtime and its relationships with job characteristics, work-related outcomes, and quality of care in community health clinicians. Method: One hundred eighty-two clinicians completed demographic and job characteristics questions and measures of burnout, job satisfaction, turnover intention, work–life conflict, and perceived quality of care. Clinicians also reported the importance of reducing stress and their confidence in reducing their stress. Clinicians who reported working overtime were compared to clinicians that did not on demographic and job characteristics and work-related outcomes. Results: Ninety-four clinicians (52%) reported working overtime in a typical week. Controlling for exempt status and group differences in time spent supervising others, those working overtime reported significantly increased burnout and work–life conflict and significantly lower job satisfaction and quality of care than those not working overtime. Clinicians working overtime also reported significantly greater importance in reducing stress but less confidence in their ability to reduce stress than those not working overtime. There were no significant group differences for turnover intention. Conclusion and Implications for Practice: Working overtime is associated with negative consequences for clinician-related work outcomes and perceived quality of care. Policies and interventions aimed at reducing overtime and work-related stress and burnout may be warranted in order to improve quality of care.

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