What Are Physician Assistant Hours? A Guide for Pre-PA Students

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July 1, 2024
Are you dreaming of becoming a physician assistant (PA), but worried about the hours? Fear not! This comprehensive guide will walk you through different PA schedules, explore how physician assistant hours vary across specialties, and provide tips for achieving that elusive work-life balance.

What kind of hours do PAs typically work?

Most PAs work full-time, which means around 40 hours per week. However, the exact hours can vary based on the healthcare setting. For example, PAs working in hospitals might take on longer shifts (sometimes up to 12 hours), especially if they’re in acute care or surgical specialties. On the other hand, those working in clinics or private practices might have more regular, 9-to-5 schedules.

It’s essential to note that flexibility is often required. You may have to work evenings, weekends, or even be on call, depending on the needs of your patients and your supervising physician. While this might sound intimidating, it’s also one of the aspects that make the job so rewarding.

Still deciding which PA specialty is the best fit with your personal goals and schedule? Check out this post, Physician Assistant Specialties: How to Decide Which is Right for You!


How do physician assistant hours vary across specialties?

The type of specialty you choose can significantly impact your work hours. Here’s what you can expect for the following specialties: 

1. Emergency Medicine

PAs in emergency medicine often work long shifts that can extend up to 12 hours. These shifts usually rotate, covering nights, weekends, and holidays. The upside? You get days off during the week, which can be a great time to recharge.

2. Surgery

If you’re assisting in surgeries, expect early mornings and potentially long hours in the operating room. Surgical PAs often start their day before sunrise, and their hours can extend into the evening.

3. Primary Care

Working in a primary care setting typically offers a more predictable schedule, often resembling regular business hours. You might still have to work some evenings or weekends, but it’s usually more balanced.

4. Pediatrics

Pediatric PAs can have varied hours depending on whether they work in a hospital or a clinic. Hospital settings might require round-the-clock care, while clinics offer more regular hours.

5. Dermatology

Dermatology PAs often enjoy more traditional office hours, with limited weekend or evening work. This specialty can be ideal for those seeking a more balanced lifestyle.

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How do you achieve a better work-life balance as a PA?

Striking the right balance between your work and personal life can be challenging for any medical professional, but it’s crucial for long-term success and satisfaction. Here are some tips to help you achieve that balance, no matter where you are in your PA journey:

1. Practice time management.

Effective time management is your best friend. Prioritize your tasks and set boundaries to ensure you have time for yourself and your loved ones. Use scheduling tools and apps to keep track of your work and personal commitments.

2. Prioritize self-care.

Taking care of others starts with taking care of yourself. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. Mindfulness practices like meditation can also help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

3. Set realistic goals.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to do everything perfectly. Set achievable goals for both your professional and personal life. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned.

4. Seek support.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s from colleagues, friends, or family, having a support system can make a world of difference. Joining professional organizations and networking with other PAs can provide valuable insights and advice.

5. Engage in lifelong learning.

The medical field is always evolving, so staying updated with the latest advancements is crucial. However, make sure to balance your learning with leisure activities. Enroll in courses or attend conferences that interest you, but also take time to relax and unwind.


Final Thoughts

Physician assistant hours can vary, depending on what specialty and setting the PA is working in. From the fast-paced environment of emergency medicine to the more predictable hours in primary care, the life of a PA is both challenging and fulfilling. By managing your time effectively, taking care of yourself, and setting realistic goals, you can achieve a healthy work-life balance and thrive in your profession.

Happy studying, and good luck on your path to becoming a PA!


Rosh Review is the leading Qbank provider for PA programs across the United States. Whether you’re a pre-PA student or PA-C, Rosh Review has something for you along your PA journey. Start a free trial today!

By The Rosh Review Team


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