Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Boeve, Wallace


Workplace burnout is known to be extremely prevalent among employees in the medical professions. For other health care professions such as physicians or nurses there is a plethora of existing literature on workplace burnout, but there is a lack of research on workplace burnout as it relates to Physician Assistants (PAs). This research study sought to discover what potential factors are specifically contributing to workplace burnout among PAs, symptoms of burnout experienced, and the personal strategies that PAs have found useful in coping with burnout. Interviews with ten currently practicing PAs in the Minnesota and Wisconsin region were conducted to investigate and look for causes, symptoms and strategies PAs used to deal with burnout. Of the 10 interviews, nine participants stated they felt emotionally exhausted, four felt a sense of depersonalization, and 6 felt a decreased sense of personal accomplishment. Major causes of burnout identified include increased patient load, increased patient difficulty, longer work hours, increased patient load, a decreased scope of practice, and improper recognition by colleagues and patients. Coping mechanisms used by participants include having a well-defined work-life balance, and re-investing in the profession. Compared to other more well studied health professions, PAs are experiencing less depersonalization but a lower sense of personal achievement. Scope of practice and improper recognition are also causes not see in other health professions.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons