The impact of perceived medical dominance on the workplace satisfaction of Australian and British nurses

Barbara J. Adamson*, Dianna T. Kenny, Jenifer Wilson‐Barnett

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)


    Current literature on the sociology of health views medical dominance as a structural feature of the health division of labour, and a body of literature has developed exploring the structural components contributing to the subordination of the allied health professions In this paper, nursing literature describing the nature and source of nurses' perceptions, complaints and dissatisfactions with their profession, and sociological analyses of the position of nurses within the structure of the health care delivery system, were employed to provide a framework for assessing the degree to which structural medical dominance of the nursing profession impinges on nurses' perceptions of dominance and how these perceptions affect nurses' workplace satisfaction A 69‐item questionnaire covering aspects of doctor‐nurse, doctor‐patient, nurse‐patient and nurse‐hospital administration relationships was developed One‐hundred and thirty‐three Australian nurses and 108 British nurses completed the questionnaire, in which they ranked their own level of professional satisfaction and the level of satisfaction they perceived doctors to experience Results indicated that Australian and British nurses were not only dissatisfied with many aspects of then‐ work environment, such as their pay and working conditions, but also experienced dissatisfaction with their professional status while perceiving the medical profession to be highly satisfied British nurses were significantly more dissatisfied with their own profession and perceived the medical profession to be more authoritarian than did Australian nurses No difference between Australian and British nurses' perceptions of degree of medical autonomy was found The implications of nurses' perceived discrepancy in workplace satisfaction between nurses and doctors in the delivery of health care are discussed in terms of the structural barriers created by medical dominance Recommendations for the trainmg of nurses and the implications of the findings for nurse practitioners are made, together with suggestions for further research

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)172-183
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


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