5 Ways to Know If a PA Position Is a Good Fit For You
Physician Assistant jobs rank amongst the best in the nation. They offer a good salary, growth potential, and the satisfaction of providing meaningful care to patients. But despite the benefits, many PAs experience burnout.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, the rate of burnout amongst Physician Assistants ranges from 34% to 64%. But other research by the same group shows PAs maintain remarkably high levels of job satisfaction. At first glance, the data contradicts each other. When you dig deeper, it makes sense.
The Right PA Job Changes Over Time
If you are a recent graduate with student loans to pay, it can be tempting to jump at your first job offer. If you’re farther along in your career, it might be hard to leave a familiar position – even if it’s one that is no longer making you happy.
A role that worked for you during one stage of your career doesn’t mean it’s your best choice today. Don’t let the fear of change leave you stuck in a position that no longer meets your needs.
5 Steps To Land Your Perfect Physician Assistant Job
You deserve a job that motivates you to provide the care your patients deserve. If your current job is failing you and your patients, it’s time to consider changing roles.
There are different considerations when making a career move. Think about the ones that matter to you and give more weight to them in your decision-making.
1. Consider the Pay
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physician Assistants earn between $72,720 and $157,120 per year. Job satisfaction often comes from factors other than a high-end salary. But if you have student loans or you’re saving for a down payment for a house, salary might be your current key motivator. Your earning potential will pivot around various factors, such as:
- Specialty – With Emergency Medicine and Surgery offering the highest salary
- Location – Urban generally pays higher than rural
- Experience – a longstanding career will compensate higher
2. Consider Your Day-To-Day Role
As a Physician Assistant, you are qualified for many aspects of patients care. But being qualified doesn’t mean you enjoy them equally.
Define what it was you loved most in previous clinical rotations or roles. Did you love the challenge of seeing new patients, or did you prefer building relationships with ongoing ones? Did you love the hands-on parts of your job but loathed the record-keeping?
Admitting what you like – and what you don’t – can be uncomfortable. Don’t be embarrassed about what you learn. Being less enthusiastic about certain aspects of patient care doesn’t make you a bad PA. Recognizing your strengths will help you find a job where your skills can shine.
3. Consider Your Specialty
Physician Assistants are unique in medicine because they can change specialties without pursuing additional education. And many of you do. According to the National Academy of Medicine, nearly half of PAs report switching specialties at least once during their career. The most common reason cited for the switch was to achieve a better work-life balance.
Specialties in emergency medicine and oncology are acknowledged as more demanding. If you’re laser-focused on one of these specialties, you might need to make certain concessions in your personal life. Does this mean you’re destined to burnout? Of course not. Just be aware of the trade-offs you are willing to make.
4. Consider the Schedule
Most PAs work full-time hours. Shifts vary, depending on where you practice and your specialty. Some might only require weekdays while others demand weekends, holidays, and on-call hours. Your schedule can impact your work-life balance – and your overall job satisfaction.
If you are early in your career, early mornings and late nights might not bother you. Consider how you will feel about this schedule a few years down the road.
5. Consider the Support Available to You
For some, there is comfort in knowing you can consult with a physician any time. Other Physician Assistants thrive in being the primary decision maker. Different personalities are better suited for different workplaces.
Colleagues and specialists are one type of support to consider. Technology is another. Smaller, older, or rural facilities might have less advanced equipment or limited hours for imaging appointments. Again, this doesn’t mean it’s a dealbreaker – or maybe it is. It’s a choice only you can make.
A Physician Assistant Job That Is Right for You
Only you can decide which considerations are most important in a new job. But Palm Health can help. Whether you’re searching for your first PA job or you’re a seasoned professional looking for a change, we fill jobs with matchmaking in mind. Contact Palm Health and we will connect you with a job that has everything you want – and nothing that you don’t.