Working in palliative care is often associated with a high risk for professional burnout. However, recent studies have shown lower burnout levels in palliative care doctors compared to those working in other specialties. The aim of this study was to a) identify motivation, stress factors, and individual coping strategies of physicians working in palliative care settings, and b) define specific professional and individual skills required in palliative care physicians.Qualitative study interviewing 16 physicians working in different palliative care settings such as hospice (add number), hospital (add number), homecare (add number) or private practice (add number) in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Norway. The semi-structured interviews lasted 45-60 minutes each; a subsequent qualitative content analysis was performed. The age of the interview partners (5 females, 11 males) ranged from 30 to 62 years of age with 0.5 to 27 years working experience in palliative care.We conclude a high job satisfaction of physicians in palliative care despite the demanding physical and psychological requirements. Improving communication skills should be a central element in the training of palliative care physicians.