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Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated if career regret varies among physician assistants (PAs) practicing in primary and specialty care fields. This information may assist practicing and aspiring physician assistants when selecting or changing their career path.

Methods: A survey was emailed to 5,000 primary and specialty care physician assistants. Items indicating career regret were compared between primary and specialty care groups.

Results: Eight hundred and thrity-four (16.7%) completed surveys were received back. Career regret is similar between primary and specialty care physician assistants, with low reports from both groups. No statistical significance was found between primary care and specialty care groups with regards to career regret or student loan debt. The primary care group noted a less sustainable work/ life balance and higher perceived burnout. Specialty care physician assistants reported higher annual gross income. Regret and disappointment correlated highly with burnout.

Conclusions: Physician assistants and prospective physician assistants should carefully consider their career path as regret and disappointment correlated highly with burnout.

Author Bio(s)

Talia M. Sierra, MPAS, PA-C, Assistant Professor with the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Idaho State University. She is also a licensed physician assistant in the state of Idaho.

Jennifer Forbes, MHS, PA-C, Assistant Professor in the Division of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is also a licensed physician assistant in the state of Utah.

Michael L. Nelson, DHSc., MPAS, PA-C, Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor with the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, UT.

Acknowledgements

The Idaho State University Physician Assistant Studies Faculty Grant was awarded to the authors in the amount of $500 for the purposes of purchasing the e-mail rental agreement from AAPA and to purchase participation incentives of four $50 amazon gift cards to award to four random survey participants. Prior to data collection, the survey and research proposal were reviewed by our Institutional Review Board and determined to be exempt.

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