BACKGROUND: This study aimed to identify and understand the chronic sources of work stress in the NSW and ACT dentistry context. Further, the study examines whether Australian dentists are exposed to similar sources of work stress as dentists internationally.
METHODS: A purposive sample of registered members of the NSW Branch of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) were interviewed. Participants were selected because they represented the key characteristics of the broader ADA population. Interviews were recorded and fully transcribed. Themes were identified, developed, refined and clarified using established and rigorous methods of interview investigation and analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 18 dentists participated in the study. Inductive content analysis was used to develop six main categories of chronic sources of stress. These groupings were time and scheduling pressures, professional concerns, patient/public perceptions of dentists, staffing problems, pressures associated with treating patients and business process stressors.
CONCLUSIONS: Like their international counterparts, Australian dentists are subject to a variety of job-specific stressors. However, the most notable difference between Australian and international dentists relates to the business side of dentistry. It would appear that the Australian statutory, regulatory and industrial relations environment place unique and profound pressures on Australian dentists.