Factors that influence physician assistant choice of practice location
Smith, Barbara S.
Muma, Richard D.
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Smith, B. S., Muma, R. D., Burks, L., & Lavoie, M. M. (2012). Factors that influence physician assistant choice of practice location. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, 25(3), 46-51.
Objective: Certain US rural areas have inadequate access to health care providers. Health care educational institutions have made nationwide efforts to recruit students from rural areas, in the hope that they will return upon graduation. This 2009 study focused on the physician assistant (PA) profession's endeavors in this effort. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey used a random sample of 2,000 practicing PAs from the United States. Factor analysis was used to categorize the responses to 20 Likert-type questions about possible reasons behind the PA's choice of first practice location. Results: Respondents who graduated from a rural high school were significantly more likely to practice in a rural setting. Six identifiable factors emerged from the factor analysis. Chi-square analyses determined that significant relationships existed between these factors and demographic variables. Gender influenced the greatest number of items; specialty and PA degree level influenced the fewest items. Factor 2 (support of/for significant other) held the most sway in the decision about first employment location. Conclusion: R espondents felt that support of and for the significant other was the most important factor in their first practice-location choice. Recruiters searching for health care professionals in areas needing medical services may wish to pay closer attention to spousal opportunities and should not underestimate the impact of family in the decision about work location.
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