Primary care providers are pillars of China’s medical and health sectors. However, due to the gap between career expectations and reality, they enter a career plateau phase through excessive pressure. This study aims to examine the prevalence and associated factors of the career plateau of primary care providers in Heilongjiang Province, China, and proposes strategies to improve and promote their career advancement.
Based on city-level GDP growth in the province, a questionnaire survey was conducted among 1500 primary care providers (effective response rate = 85.8%). Pearson’s chi-square analysis and binary logistic regression were used to analyse the factors associated with their career plateau.
The prevalence rate of career plateau was 61.8% among primary care provider respondents. The factors associated with a career plateau included having a spouse (OR = 1.394, 95%CI = 1.056-1.839), working more than 40 h per week (OR = 1.473, 95%CI = 1.146-1.893); working for 11-20 years (OR = 1.607, 95%CI = 1.150-2.246); working for more than 20 years (OR = 2.818, 95%CI = 1.938-4.097); having an average monthly income of 3001-4000 yuan (OR = 1.886, 95%CI = 1.197-2.969) or 4001-5000 yuan (OR = 2.104, 95%CI = 1.256-3.524); and reporting unsatisfactory or very unsatisfactory sleep quality (OR = 1.838, 95%CI = 1.317-2.567).
Primary care providers in Heilongjiang Province face a high career plateau, with marital status, weekly working hours, number of years employed, monthly average income, and sleep quality considered associated factors. To eliminate negative factors of the career plateau, it is necessary to provide support to primary care providers in four domains: individual, organisation, society, and policy.

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