The U.S. News & World Report has (again) ranked PA to be in the top of all professions and #2 in healthcare professions.
The PA Profession has done it again. PA is named as the #2 profession in the healthcare sector and #4 overall for all professions in the 2023 U.S. World News & Rankings Healthcare Jobs report.
Dive into how these rankings are generated, what they are based upon, and the predictions that exist for the growth of the PA profession in the coming ten years.
The reality is that these rankings, although they provide incredible visibility and awareness for the general public about the PA profession in general… they don’t change your specific role or job situation at all. Your frustrations are still the same. Your burnout still exists.
Let’s take an eyes wide open look at what you can do about your specific situation so that you feel better about your job as a PA and start feeling like the best you can feel.
Watch the YouTube Video Here
#2 Healthcare Job: PAs
The annual U.S. News & World Report Best Jobs rankings, released earlier in January confirmed, once again, that the PA profession is growing by leaps and bounds and Physician Assistants (AKA physician associate) ranked #2 in the healthcare job category.
How It Works
How the US News and World Report rankings work.
When the U.S. News & World Report Ranks PA the #2 Healthcare Profession what are they using for the actual metrics?
Jobs are then scored using seven component measures: 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level and work-life balance. For further details on how the U.S. News & World Report rankings are calculated, see the methodology here.
How the PA Profession Ranks
Here’s how we did as a profession: U.S. News & World Report ranked PAs the #2 Healthcare Profession
On the 100 Best Jobs list, PAs ranked #4 and we landed at that same #4 spot on the Best STEM Jobs list as well. 2023 makes 6 years in a row that PAs ranks in the top 5 across all occupations.
Important to note that, in anticipation of this potential economic downturn, recession, or depression, depending on who you listen to economically and what you are expecting in the coming years… PAs was named one of the top 20 careers with the most job security, securing the #4 slot on that list, as well.
What does the BLS say?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has what’s called an Occupational Outlook Handbook. This data and projections are actually used to inform the U.S. News and World Report rankings.
BLS projects that the PA profession will experience a nearly 28% increase in employment between the years of 2021 and 2031. In the next 10 years a nearly 30% increase in the number of PAs practicing medicine in the United States.
To give you some idea of how this compares to others in the healthcare sector:
RN growth is predicted to be 6% in the coming 10 years
Physicians and Surgeon growth is predicted to be about 3%
BLS stats also include current employment in the US at 139,100 and an expected growth of an additional 38,400 PAs joining our ranks in the coming 10 years.
Certainly there is some variability. AAPA cites over 159,000 PAs currently practicing in the US.
Now is our time – to grow up into our own profession, to start to self-regulate, to further establish ourselves as valuable members of the team, individual, highly trained practitioners providing care to patients.
What about Work-Life Balance?
PAs received the highest score provided for any healthcare profession when it comes to work-life balance. If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I think work-life balance is a misnomer and I prefer to call it work life integration… or better yet life-work integration, with a focus on the life you want to live and your work fitting into that life.
I prefer to think about a life in which I work some of the time. A life that I love. A life where I can prioritize what’s most important to me an work isn’t number 1 – where my own health, wellness, happiness, joy, hope and fulfillment, where my family, my life matters more than my work. Where my work is an important part of my life, but not the single most important thing.
I think that this fact that the PA profession ranked so highly when it comes to work-life balance can leave a lot of PAs practicing clinically right now scratching their head. We may have scored high on this objective test by an outside source, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel that great situation and balance in your life.
How to Create Balance
If we are going to talk about balance, or as I’d prefer, integration. Here’s an important reminder. It doesn’t matter to you, your health, physical, mental and spiritual situation, what our profession ranks on the US News and World report. What matters is how your life FEELS on a day-to-day basis.
You can have all these trappings of success, the 6-figure salary, the high acuity job, the fulfilling specialty, the position where your collaborating physician respects you, but if your work is prioritized WAY above all else in your life, it’s incredibly hard to feel balanced in that situation.
Here’s what you can do about it – start to make small changes in your microclimate. This is something that I learned from my dear friend Meg Leddy – if you have ever felt burned out in healthcare and haven’t yet checked out her podcast – Burnout: What I’ve Learned So Far, add it to your must listen list.
Meg taught me that, yes, the healthcare system needs to be taken down brick by brick, disassembled and put back together in a way that isn’t morally injuring the people providing the care to patients and in a way that prioritizes patient care and not dollars and cents… but, instead of waiting for that healthcare rearrangement to happen, here’s what you can do.
Change the culture at your workplace.
Change the microclimate.
Improve your communication.
Stop taking work home.
Stand up for yourself, your colleagues and your patients.
Start to make tiny changes that end up with positive influences on your day, which end up positively impacting your weeks, months and years… which is, in fact, your entire life!
What this means for your life
However, when the U.S. News & World Report ranks PAs the #2 Healthcare Profession don’t change your life one single bit. You can see this and, if you are in a season of overwhelm and burnout similar to the one I’ve walked through in the past – you’re going to be shaking your head at the absolute ridiculous nature of these numbers – they don’t change your life, your work situation at all.
You can listen to this episode and read the US News and World Report rankings and think – I still feel stuck, overworked, underappreciated and overwhelmed. I’m still debating leaving my job or even the profession altogether because of the situation that I’m in.
Your life is too short to stay in a situation that sucks. It’s too important to be happy and fulfilled to stay stuck.
I want to invite you to schedule a free 15-minute call with me. We can debrief about your situation and you will leave with some specific action items – things that you can change in your life this week to help you feel less burned out, less stuck and less disenfranchised by your job and the healthcare system in general.
I ADORE being a PA – so much so that I host a podcast talking all about it AND I coach PAs on career choices and navigating these hard times, as well as managing money and learning how to negotiate effectively.
This year I’m on a mission to serve 200 PAs and to help you get unstuck, earn a paycheck you are proud of and feel valued at work. I want you to love your job again (or for the first time) and the next time that the US News and World Report names PAs among the BEST careers overall, I want you to smile and think – you are darn right they did – instead of shaking your head laughing about just how much those rankings don’t reflect your current situation.
To learn more about working with me or to book a full 1-hour coaching session, go to www.tracybingaman.com
The Future of the PA Profession
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is our time as a profession. We are going through this massive change, changing our name, rebranding our profession, and positioning our profession within the healthcare system to grow and meet the needs of patients.
With increasing healthcare demands, PAs who are nearing the end of their career, there is an expected 12,700 openings for physician assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Dave Mittman, PA-C shared his thoughts on the future of the PA profession here.
What this means for you is that, if you try those things to make a change within your current position and it isn’t working out – it doesn’t feel good or fit your life during this season – there will be lots of opportunity to make a change.
They say all publicity is good publicity and the US News and World Report rankings are just that. It’s a tool to increase our position in the marketplace, improve our visibility to the public, attract great future PAs to join our profession and remind the healthcare industry of the incredible value that PAs add.
Regardless of how the U.S. News and World Report ranks PAs, we are positioned well to meet the growing needs of the industry, to serve our patients and to continue to grow.