Occupational Stress in Dental Practice amongst Government-employed and Private Dental Practitioners in Eastern Nigeria: A comparative survey
Objectives: The aim of this study is to compare the level of occupational stress amongst government-employed and private dental practitioners in eastern Nigeria. Materials and methods: A total of 62 questionnaires were randomly distributed among government-employed and private practicing dental surgeons with five years and above working experience in eastern Nigeria. The information collected included: years of practice; mode of remuneration; causes of stress during clinical practice; signs of onset of stress; reactions of individual practitioner during stress condition; and patient’s management during practitioner’s stressful moment. Fifty-seven questionnaires were returned anonymously representing 92% response rate, these were used in the data analysis. Results: Forty-two (73.3%) out of the 57 respondents were government employed dental practitioners while 15 (26.7%) were in full private practice. Thirty-three (78.5%) government-employed respondents, indicated patients’ management and type of clinical procedures as the main cause of their stress. Staff and practice management were the main cause of stress amongst all 15 respondents in full private practice. It was also observed that most dental surgeons (73.3%) in full private practice were affected by time pressure and environmental factor. Irritability and impatience was high (69%) among government-employed practitioners compared to (26.7%) among private practitioners. Conclusion: Our findings showed that private dental practitioners experience more stress in dental practice than government-dental practitioners in our environment. This could be explained in terms of time pressure, environmental factor and remunerations. This calls for an establishment of more government owned dental centers, government employment and good remuneration for dental surgeons to reduce the level of occupational stress in our daily dental practice.
Keywords: Occupational stress; Dental practice; Government-employed and Private dental practitioners; Eastern Nigeria