Burnout among doctors and nurses has been well documented in recent years, but physician assistants are also susceptible to this trend, with a National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants survey showing that 30% have at least one symptom of burnout. Almost 8% say they plan to leave the profession within the next year.

The strongest predictors of burnout included workload, census divisions, age, specialties and practice settings. Having one or more burnout symptoms was associated with more than three-and-a-half higher odds of PAs planning to leave their jobs within the next 12 months.

What's The Impact?

Exposure to burnout was linked to a few standout factors, including hours worked: Those who worked between 51 and 60 hours per week were more than twice as likely to experience burnout than those who worked 30 or fewer hours.

Age and location also matter. PAs working in urgent care or at community health centers were more likely to experience burnout than PAs working for a hospital. The New England, Mountain and Pacific Census regions saw higher rate of burnout compared to other geographies. Being older than 35 was a predictor of increased prevalence in burnout.

In the course of compiling the data, it became evident that there were some factors that prevented or lessened the impact of burnout. For instance, specialty played a role – OB-GYNs, dermatologists, pediatric PAs and those who work in surgery or occupational medicine experienced less burnout than those in primary care.

Men were 38% less likely to experience burnout than women, while those working in two or more clinical positions experienced 34% less burnout than those who worked only one position.

The Larger Trend

An American Medical Association survey released in August ranked emergency medicine physicians as the top specialty affected by burnout, with 62% of respondents reporting symptoms.

Rounding out the top six most burned-out specialties are hospital medicine (59%), family medicine (58%), pediatrics (55%), obstetrics and gynecology (54%), and internal medicine (52%).

Meanwhile, just 52% of pediatrician respondents reported feeling valued by their organization. The other top five specialties all fell below 50% on that metric. Only 40% of ob-gyns said they felt valued.

In the 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report, 29% of nurses said they were considering leaving the profession, a steep rise from the 11% who were considering such a move in the 2020 survey.

Among the respondents, 4% said they work as travel nurses, and 62% of those became travel nurses in 2020 or 2021. Higher pay far surpassed all other reasons for becoming a travel nurse, followed by dissatisfaction with management.

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Healthcare Finance News | September 14, 2023

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