Physician Assistant Work-Life Balance: Everything You Need To Know

If you talk to people who have decided to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant (PA), they will often tell you that they chose the profession because the work-life balance is fantastic. This may not always be the case; for some, it can deter them from moving forward with the demanding career choice.

Today we will look at some caveats you need to be aware of when choosing your career as a physician assistant and what you can expect.

So let’s dive in!

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Benefits Of Being A Physician Assistant

1. Training is Much Shorter

To begin, even though a physician’s and a PA’s hours are similar, the physician assistant will have a much shorter training period than a physician. There have been a lot of regulations in the past ten years that have reduced the residency periods for physicians, which is a good thing.

For example, if you would like to be a doctor, your residency and medical schooling is going to be at least 4-5 years longer than a PA’s training. 

Opting for a physician assistant position then gives you the opportunity to start living a balanced life sooner than a doctor, and you can start enjoying the benefits of a good work-life balance earlier on in your life.

2. Geographic Flexibility

Most physicians and doctors will move where their residency is, and eventually, their job takes them. 

PAs might have to move to attend a physician assistant school, but the time commitment is much less than if you were a doctor relocating for residency.

Once certified by the NCCPA as a PA, you can look for job openings in the cities where you want to live. Typically there are several different cities looking for physician assistants at any given time, which allows you to find a city to live in first and then look for jobs after you get there.

Working with a skilled, qualified talent acquisition team can help you land the best jobs across the nation. 

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3. Flexibility to Work In Different Specialty Areas

Choosing a career as a physician assistant also offers a lot of flexibility in working in different specialty areas of medicine. This flexibility lets you take your time and decide which specialty you want to pursue long term. 

Several other parts of the job are flexible, including switching from full-time to part-time work, working clinical shifts in a hospital versus regular business hours, and moving back and forth from a small practice to a larger medical practice.

Ultimately, you can find a schedule that works for you and brings you the work-life balance you want.

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The Work-Life Balance of a Physician Assistant 

Flexibility is key to choosing a career as a physician assistant. With that flexibility comes the work-life balance that everyone dreams of having. After all, throughout the education process, you get taught to go into the specialty of your passion, work the hours you want, and live in a location that best suits your needs.

You will hear a lot about team-based healthcare methods and how they increase the effectiveness and efficiency of medical practices around the country. Physician assistants are educated in two or three different areas throughout their careers, making them highly versatile within their industry. 

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Provider Burnout

Every job is not without its downsides. As regulations continue to increase, the complexities of the physician assistant career do as well. As it evolves, the responsibilities, administrative duties, general tasks, and red tape can impose restrictions, add weight to your sense of freedom.

An early study shows physician assistants burning out at an alarming rate due to not having the ability to fully practice what their license allows, not achieving the work-life balance they wanted, and not being able to dedicate enough time to patient’s overall care. 

This burnout leads to depression, fatigue, productivity decreases, lack of interest in their work, social withdrawal, and increased use of drugs and alcohol.

While many studies are focused on physicians, more and more studies are being looked at among physician assistants and the burnout rate many are experiencing.  

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Finding Balance

The key to enjoying a career as a Physician’s Assistant is ensuring you can find balance without burning out. It might take some time to test out different ideas, but getting ahead of the things that directly affect you inside and outside the practice – in and out of your home, and other things that surround you in your life will help tremendously.

For example, making sure to keep your job at the practice and not bring it home with you is a big way to segregate work from your home life and kids. Another good idea is to try and eat dinner together, not watch as much TV, and stay off the phone during peak family time. 

Taking time for yourself can also be greatly beneficial – find out the 8 Factors of Optimum Health and how you can apply these to your journey.

Simply leaving a job to find a new one is typically not an option for healthcare workers. This is why finding solutions to the stress you may be feeling as a PA is crucial for creating a fruitful, long-lasting career.

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Conclusion

Many physician assistants think they are going into a career that will be easier than most in the medical field but be cautious. Whether or not you’re on call, how many hours you work, and what shifts you take are influenced by the practice type you work as opposed to the type of provider you are.

No matter what specialty you choose, as a physician’s assistant, you will have the flexibility to choose the work-life balance that suits your lifestyle. 

For more information on how MindBody Talent can help with your recruiting efforts for your holistic medicine practice, visit our website today!

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