Job satisfaction and happiness at work

Job satisfaction and happiness at work

For dental professionals, happiness at work often relies on job satisfaction. There are many factors influencing how satisfied you are in the dental practice and it’s important to optimise your happiness wherever possible. September 23-27 is International Week of Happiness at Work – so how happy are you?

A happy nation

Despite the current turmoil our country finds itself in, it seems we are still a happy nation. According to the World Happiness Report 2019,[i] the UK ranked 15th out of the 156 countries listed. Finland was found to be the happiness population, with South Sudan the least happy. The results are based on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption, demonstrating the complexities of attempting to measure happiness.

A happy workplace

Assessing your own happiness specifically at work may be a little easier. For example, there are a few key questions you could ask yourself to highlight your level of job satisfaction:

  • Do you normally enjoy what you do?
  • Do you look forward to going to work most days?
  • How well do you get on with your colleagues?
  • Do most of your patients respond well to you?
  • Can you access the tools and equipment you need to do your job effectively?
  • Do you have enough support?
  • Do you have opportunities to develop your skills and advance your career, if this is what you want to do?
  • Are you usually able to manage your stress levels effectively?

Stark contrast in happiness at work

Unfortunately, happiness among UK dentists is not consistently high right now. The 2019 Confidence Monitor Report found that a massive 86% of NHS dentists were unhappy or very unhappy across seven key areas. In contrast, the same survey found that 83% of private dentists were happy or very happy. Looking at the possible reasons for this, NHS dentists reported much higher stress levels with regards to the risk of complaints and litigation and their ability to meet GDC standards, than those who performed more private dentistry. (The 2019 results are due eminently.)

Improving job satisfaction

According to the 2019 Confidence Monitor Report,[ii] a large percentage of NHS dentists are unhappy or very happy due to the high stress levels they face. The reasons for this stress are stated as the perceived risk of complaints and litigation, as well as the ability to meet GDC standards. To improve your job satisfaction when working within the NHS, reducing these stresses is therefore crucial.

Firstly, you can achieve this by performing evidence-based dentistry and by using clinically proven products. Secondly, it involves ensuring clear patient communication and consistently obtaining informed consent. Enhancing your job satisfaction might also involve developing your skills. Continued education is a great way of facilitating this and helping you achieve your career ambitions. Why not have a look at the courses currently available to you that might enable you to enjoy your work even more? Adding them to your PDP will help you plan ahead and make the very most of your on-going training for maximum job satisfaction and happiness at work.


[i] Helliwell JF, Layard R, Sachs JD. World Happiness Report 2019. [Accessed September 2019]

[ii] The NHS Confidence Monitor Survey. Results. Summer 2018. Practice Plan. Edition 6. [Accessed September 2019]


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