As part of its Mini Research Grant Program, the Center for
Rural Pennsylvania awarded Brandon Vick $15,000 to
analyze survey data for four health workforces in
Pennsylvania — namely physicians, physician assistants,
dentists, and dental hygienists — to identify rural/urban
differences in the workforce makeup, career satisfaction, and
plans to leave patient care.
Vick, a Research Associate
with MAARTI and Economics professor, served as
the primary investigator for the project. David Yerger, an Economics professor, and Margaret Gagel, a senior Operations Management
major and honors program student, assisted in the research, which led to a published report on career dissatisfaction and plans to leave patient care among rural health care practitioners.
Overall, 14 percent of physicians reported dissatisfaction
with their careers in the past year, with slightly more rural
physicians reporting dissatisfaction.
After controlling for
other factors, the research indicated that rural physicians
have 17 percent higher odds of reporting dissatisfaction,
which is important given the strong links between career
satisfaction and decisions to leave practice.
odds of dissatisfaction tended to be stronger for the
following subgroups of physicians: males, primary care
practitioners, white physicians, those 60 years old and older,
and those practicing in a single-specialty office.
physician assistants, dentists, and dental hygienists nearing
retirement age also have higher odds of retiring in the next six
years than their urban counterparts. The results highlighted a lower relative ability to attract and keep health
care professionals who are satisfied with their careers in
rural areas and
problems potentially related to health professional