Factors That Influence Physician Assistant Job Satisfaction and Retention in Manitoba: A Survey Response

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Rowed, Casey
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Introduction: A significant amount of healthcare providers in Canada are suffering from job dissatisfaction, burnout, or plan to leave healthcare in the next few years. Physician Assistants (PA) were the fastest-growing sector of this Canadian healthcare workforce in 2021. Despite this, very little research has been conducted to date on the factors that influence PA job satisfaction and retention in Canada. Research from the United States has shown that autonomy, compensation, physician support, and role flexibility are highly associated with job satisfaction among PAs. Objective: The objective of this study was to undertake a census of working PAs in Manitoba and to determine what employment conditions were considered important to PAs and may influence job satisfaction and retention. Methods: An online survey was constructed and distributed to 153 registered and licensed PAs in the province of Manitoba. The survey consisted of a demographic collection section, a quantitative assessment of relevant employment conditions on a 5-point Likert scale, and a qualitative section with open questions analyzed via keyword analysis. Results: Employment conditions found to be the most important were schedule, hours worked per week, amount of vacation, physician/supervisor support, work culture or co-workers, and type of contract. Conditions considered important were compensation level, autonomy, receiving benefits/pension, practice area/specialty, type of employer, location of work, career advancement, and scope of practice. The most frequently encountered keywords were supervisor, flexibility, contract, and schedule. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that autonomy and physician support continue to be key factors that drive PA retention and job satisfaction as seen in previous literature. However, greater attention should be given to job flexibility, scheduling, hours worked, and time away from work as they are of significant importance to PAs practicing in Manitoba and could reflect a broader professional trend in Canada.