A high rate of burnout has been reported in oncology physicians. Physician assistants (PAs) may also face similar risks of burnout. We sought to measure the personal and professional characteristics associated with burnout and career satisfaction and the potential impact on the oncology PA workforce.

In all, 855 PAs were contacted and 250 submitted complete surveys (response rate, 29.2%). Respondents were representative of PAs in oncology with a mean age of 41.8 years, females (88.8%), academic practice (55.2%), urban location (61.2%), outpatient (74.4%), medical oncology (75.2%), worked 41 to 50 hours per week (52.8%), and had a mean of 9.6 years as a PA in oncology. Burnout was reported in 34.8% of PAs, 30.4% reported high emotional exhaustion, 17.6% reported high depersonalization, and 19.6% reported a low sense of personal accomplishment. In multivariable analysis, age, time spent on indirect patient care, oncology subspecialty, and relationship with collaborating physicians were factors associated with burnout. Career and specialty satisfaction was high (86.4% and 88.8%, respectively). In the next 2 years, only 3.6% of PAs plan to pursue a different career or specialty and only 2.0% plan to retire.

Despite high career and specialty satisfaction, burnout is reported in one third of PAs in oncology