To define factors that affect the levels of practice satisfaction of different specialties, an observer recorded the activities of 15 physicians in ractice (9 general internists, 3 cardiologists, and 3 ophthalmologists) as they examined 304 clinic patients. General internists reported less satisfaction with their clinics than did the other physicians and attributed their satisfaction primarily to successful social interaction in 54% of visits, while cardiologists most often derived satisfaction from intellectual stimulation (50%) and ophthalmologists from medical success (81%). The general internists whom the authors observed are less satisfied with clinical encounters than are cardiologists and ophthalmologists and derive satisfaction mostly from social interaction, not biomedical aspects of care.
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