Title

Physician assistant specialty choice: A factor analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Journal

Journal of Physician Assistant Education

Volume

22

Issue

2

DOI

10.1097/01367895-201122020-00004

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify factors related to physician assistant (PA) graduates' specialty choice. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional study of PAs graduating between 2007 and 2009 was conducted (N = 12,128). Factor analysis was performed on 897 useable survey responses. The cohort profile resembles that of recent AAPA census data regarding demographic and specialty choice distribution. Results: Principal component factor analysis of perception items identified five factors that explained 52.6% of the response variance. Factors included personal satisfaction, intellectual challenge, patient care commitment, image of primary care, and professional satisfaction. The influence items analysis yielded five factors, explained 45.2% of the variance, and included practice environment, nature of patient care, lifestyle, employment opportunities, and risk aversion. These factors parallel previous findings of Hauer, et al. Conclusions: Identification of factors affecting specialty choice should provide an enhanced understanding to organizations as they explore strategies to increase recruitment and expansion of the primary care workforce.

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