With a projected 28% jump in physician assistant job growth through 2031, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there’s no doubt that medical systems throughout the country will be looking to hire the best PA matches for their organization. 

Hiring additional PAs is an essential method system used to fill gaps in an industry strained by physician shortages and increasing patient numbers. While clinical competencies and foundational knowledge are the crucial skills that can be learned in a training program, PAs carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and need to acquire and maintain additional skills to fulfill their practice’s requirements.

If you’re searching for the right candidate, take note of their individual areas of strength and qualifications when it comes to their day-to-day clinical approach. Let’s cover 5 essential skills and characteristics to look for when identifying the right physician assistant candidates.

  1. Compassion and Empathy

A favorable bedside manner is often a crucial factor in patient outcomes. Physician assistants who diagnose, treat, and care for patients also interact with their families and are often responsible for instilling confidence in the medical practice. 

To avoid burnout and create an accessible environment addressing an assortment of clinical needs, PAs need to optimize these skills to help ensure patients are receiving the best care and information. When patients and their loved ones feel unwell, scared, anxious, and uncomfortable, they can be difficult to interact with. PAs who present with compassion and empathy can often diffuse tension and provide an optimal environment for the patient to have the best possible outcomes.

  1. Emotional Stability and a High Tolerance for Stress 

Stress is a part of the occupation, as are heightened emotions. And some people are simply wired to withstand them better than others. These types of personalities are ideal for physician assistant candidates. PAs with experience building and utilizing the tools to help them remain level-headed, tolerate high-stress environments, and remain calm without letting others’ emotions affect their own are instrumental in providing essential patient care. They are also more likely to feel higher satisfaction in their careers, leading to better retention results for medical facilities.

  1. Adaptability

PAs will have to be skilled at adapting to the highest need presented. That means they may need to shift quickly from one task to the next, take on additional responsibilities, move to another area of the facility, work with other medical professionals to present patient care, or make critical decisions on the fly. PAs need to be flexible throughout the day to problem-solve in the moment without losing momentum. 

  1. Efficiency and Detail-Oriented Characteristics

Physician assistants must remain extremely detail-oriented when it comes to patient care, so they get everything critical when it comes to decision-making. Efficiently assessing details, communicating those details to other medical professionals, effectively diagnosing the problem, and moving on to the next patient require a deep level of focus and confidence.

  1. Drive and Passion for the Field

When well-matched to their occupation, PAs can provide immeasurable value to the medical system. They’re more resilient under pressure, become excellent problem solvers, continue learning and growing, and provide essential services to the field. 

Skilled physician assistants are made for the job. But if the job isn’t providing them with satisfaction, they will not only likely burnout, but they may also stop learning and growing and could develop discontentment at work that negatively affects patients, other medical practitioners, and even the overall workplace culture

Being well-matched for the medical field and the specific organization they work for is paramount to being a successful Physician Assistant.

Hiring The Right PA as Part of Your Team

It’s essential to match a PA with skilled medical competence and experience that aligns with your healthcare organization’s mission, vision, values, and culture. When interviewing potential candidates, consider framing the questions through the lens of how their skills and characteristics will specifically benefit your existing organization.

Polaris Placement can help match the right talent to your organization and will help develop a comprehensive understanding of how candidates won’t simply fill a vacancy but will meet the unique demands of your healthcare organization. Contact us today to see how Polaris Placement Services can support you.