Public Defence: Karl Arne Johannessen Karl Arne Johannessen at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis "The Changing Physician Workforce - Only a Piece of the Future Puzzle?" for the degree of Dr.Philos. (Doctor Philosophiae).

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Jon Magnussen, Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
  • Second opponent: Professor Paulo Ferrinho, The Portuguese Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portuga
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Hilde Lurås, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo 

Chair of the defence

Professor Emeritus Lars Mørkrid, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo 


The thesis studied whether gender-related factors with respect to the physician workforce, well known in the literature, persist in the Norwegian system with generous solutions of maternity leave, kindergartens and shorter working hours than many other health systems.

Physician specialization and labor supply was studied among all physicians in Norwegian hospitals in the period 2001-2009, and physician productivity in all Norwegian hospitals was studied in the period 2001-2013. Register data of socioeconomic variables were combined with primary data of working hours and salary from the hospitals.

Among 2 474 residents who started their specialization in 1999-2001, significantly more men completed their specialization in the period. But in Cox regression analyses, socioeconomic data as children and child birth explained most of this difference. However, significantly fewer female doctors choose specialties with unpredictable working hours (emergency services).

A study of physician labor supply illustrated similar results. Significant shorter working hours for women was partly explained by family and other socioeconomic variables.

More dual work among men than women in the study period was also correlated such conditions in panel analysis. Physicians having dual engagements work as much as their colleagues without, indicating little brain drain from the hospitals due to this activity.

A study using DEA analysis indicate that physician productivity does not improve over time, and that personnel mix is of high significance for utilization of physician work force. Hospitals with higher staffing of nurses and secretaries in relation to physician resources outperform those hospitals having the lowest fraction of such resources.

The thesis suggests that more flexible organization of working conditions and hours is crucial for the future recruitment of women to engage in some specialties, and that personnel mix should be focused to improve utilization of future resources.

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Published Feb. 14, 2020 1:40 PM - Last modified Feb. 26, 2020 9:56 AM