Original Research

Exploring resilience in family physicians working in primary health care in the Cape Metropole

Leigh Wagner, Michael K. Pather
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1982 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1982 | © 2019 Leigh Wagner, Michael Karl Pather | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2018 | Published: 17 October 2019

About the author(s)

Leigh Wagner, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Michael K. Pather, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Background: Despite the high prevalence of burnout among doctors, studies have shown that some doctors who choose to remain in primary healthcare (PHC) survive, even thrive, despite stressful working conditions. The ability to be resilient may assist family physicians (FPs) to adapt successfully to the relatively new challenges they are faced with. This research seeks to explore resilience through reflection on the lived experiences of FPs who have been working in PHC.

Aim: To explore the resilience of FPs working in PHC in the Cape Metropole.

Setting: The study was conducted among FPs in PHC in the Cape Town metropole, Western Cape province, South Africa.

Methods: A phenomenological qualitative study involved interviewing 13 purposefully selected FPs working in the public sector PHC in the Cape Metropole. Data were analysed using the framework method.

Results: The mean resilience scale was moderate. Six key aspects of resilience were identified: having a sense of purpose, ‘silver lining’ thinking, having several roles with autonomy, skilful leadership, having a support network and self-care.

Conclusion: The aspects that contribute to FP resilience are multi-faceted. It entails having a sense of purpose, ‘silver lining’ thinking, having several roles with autonomy, skilful leadership, having a support network and valuing self-care. Our exploration of resilience in FPs in the Cape Metropole corroborates the findings of previous studies. To ensure physician wellness and improved patient outcomes, we recommend that individual and organisational strategies should be implemented in the absence of long-term policy changes.


Keywords

work satisfaction; physician well-being; family medicine; resilience; family physicians; primary healthcare practice

Metrics

Total abstract views: 609
Total article views: 176


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.