Survey Uncovers Ways Employers Can Enhance the PA Workplace

Formal Orientation, Onboarding, Leadership Structure, Productivity Reporting Important to PA Workforce

October 4, 2019

By Jenni Roberson

Earlier this year, AAPA’s Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM) embarked on a national initiative to explore the environment in which PAs and NPs practice.

The outcome of this effort is CHLM’s first-ever “PA and NP Workplace Experiences Survey Report”, which unveiled insights into how employers can best integrate their PA an NP workforces to deliver efficient, high quality team-based care.

Focusing on recruitment and retention, onboarding and training, clinical utilization, leadership structure, billing and reimbursement, and productivity reporting and compensation, the survey looked at all key elements to an engaged workforce and excellent patient care.

Jennifer Broderick, managing director of CHLM, noted that with the average estimated cost to an employer of losing a PA or NP around $250,000, employers must be methodical about their retention strategies and utilization.

The recommendations to employers included in the survey – and the data backing them up – can also serve as a powerful tool for PAs working to identify where improvements are needed at their workplaces and advocating for change.

Key take-aways include the following:

  • For more than half of all respondents, the following were among the top three considerations when accepting a position:
    • The salary and benefits package (91%)
    • The culture of the organization (70%)
    • Being able to work at the top of their license (56%)
  • A clear opportunity for improvement by employers would be to offer a formal orientation to the role of PAs and NPs at their institution.
    • Among the survey respondents, 62% said they did not receive this type of orientation.
  • Although 40% of participants indicated they are interested in leadership, 50% of respondents say there are no leadership opportunities or a career ladder at their place of employment.
  • Among those currently holding leadership positions, 78% say they are not allocated any time for the leadership or administrative activities necessary to do their job, such as building schedules, giving feedback to direct reports, developing programs, or improving their leadership skills. This could lead to a sense of underappreciation and burnout for PAs.
  • 48% of all respondents said they are at full capacity with regard to the number of patients they see, and another 20% said they are overextended and overworked.
  • Employee burnout is a very real concern as well. Half of the respondents have quit their jobs at least once due to stress, burnout, or a toxic workplace.

Additional survey findings were also covered in a recent article by Becker’s Hospital Review: Hospitals face potential communications gap between providers, billing departments, healthcare leadership organization says.

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