To understand the career orientation and impact factors of general practitioners (GPs) in Shanghai.
A cross-sectional study was carried out from August 2014 to December 2015 using the Career Orientations Inventory (short form).
We conducted a cross-sectional study of 1159 GPs, of which 1067 (92.06%) completed the assessment tools, from 223 community healthcare centres in Shanghai
The top career orientation was organisational job security (71.60%), followed by technical competence (12.18%). Compared with female GPs, male GPs scored higher in managerial competence (p <0.001), creativity and entrepreneurship (p <0.001), and lower in organisational job security (p=0.034). Compared with GPs younger than 40, those aged 40 years and older scored higher in sense of service (p=0.003) and lower in autonomy (p=0.022) and lifestyle integration (p=0.039). Compared with GPs with lower education levels, those with at least a bachelor’s degree scored higher in managerial competence (p=0.001 and autonomy (p=0.025). In addition, those with fewer than 10 years of work experience scored higher in managerial competence (p=0.008) and scored lower in geographical security (p=0.032) compared with GPs with longer durations of work experience. GPs with senior professional positions scored higher in technical competence (p=0.012) compared with those with lower professional positions.
The search for job stability and the lack of career prospect planning are two factors that impact community GP growth. Individualised skills training and career development planning should be provided to GPs of specific genders, educational background and vocational competence, in order to enhance their job satisfaction and service quality, thereby achieving retention of this staff group.