Project Title

Assessing Physician Assistant Burnout and Job Changes in Minnesota

Name of Award

APDC Mini Grant

Date Awarded

Winter 2-1-2016

Department/School

Physician Assistant

Project Description

Kari Hartwig, DrPH, Assistant Professor, received a $400 grant for her project Assessing Physician Assistant Burnout and Job Changes in Minnesota. Health professionals face significant challenges in their daily work. In addition to the emotional stressors of working with sick patients, increased demands for seeing more patients in the day and using more electronic technology has been contributing to depression, burnout and early retirement among some providers. One recent study identified nearly 46% of physicians with signs of burnout. Several studies have examined the role of environmental factors such as malpractice rates and organizational characteristics to assess their influence on provider satisfaction. These studies indicate that decreased autonomy in the workplace, increased unsatisfactory work (administrative) and external pressures increase job dissatisfaction.

There are few studies specific to the experience of physician assistants (PAs) and career satisfaction. One recent retrospective study of PAs identified that many PAs overall job satisfaction was enhanced because of their ability to change specialties over time. The purpose of this study is to conduct a survey of PAs practicing in the state of Minnesota to assess their current burnout and patterns of job changes associated with specialty changes in recent years. This research intends to answer three primary research questions: 1. What is the evidence of burnout among PAs currently practicing in Minnesota? 2. How common is it for PAs in Minnesota to change specialties over the course of their career? 3. Is there evidence of an association that the ability to change area of specialty practice acts as a protective factor for burnout among PAs?

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