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Occupational Medicine
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 60  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 430 - 435

Occupational isolation among general practitioners in Finland

M Aira, P Mantyselka, A Vehvilainen and E. Kumpusalo    


Background It is proposed that isolation in general practice is one of the factors that leads to work-related stress and the low attraction of this work. In Finland, 71% of physicians who worked or had worked in a primary health care centre agreed with the statement ‘working as a doctor in a health centre is too often isolated work’.

Aims To gain a deeper understanding of this feeling and to find out which factors constitute it.

Methods A qualitative in-depth interview study of 32 physicians working in a primary health care centre in Finland. Qualitative analysis of transcribed verbatim interviews using a constant comparison method.

Results The main components of isolation were making decisions alone, lack of collaboration with other workers in the health centre and secondary care specialists, not being a part of the work community and lack of mentoring at work.

Conclusions Enabling flexible teamwork and social and professional support networks are the key issues in solving the problem of occupational isolation in general practice.

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