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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Eric H. Vangsnes
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Interdisciplinary Health Studies
Title: A Comparative Study of Learning Styles and Job Satisfaction to Medical Specialty Chosen Among Physician Assistant Graduates
Dr. William Fenn, Chair
Dr. Ronald Crowell
Dr. Amy Curtis
Dr. James Leja
Date: Friday, February 16, 2007 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. College of Health and Human Services, Room 2024
Since its inception, the Physician Assistant (PA) profession has maintained flexibility allowing PAs the ability to secure either a surgical or non-surgical (medicine) position for employment purposes. Since the mid-1980s, however, the trend has been for Physician Assistants (PAs) to transition into medical and surgical specialties (Hooker, 1992). One strategy that increased the number of PAs going into specialties was the creation of post-graduate residency programs.
This research protocol examined possible associations between learning style and an individual's choice of medical specialty, choice of medical specialty to job satisfaction, and learning style to job satisfaction. Subjects were drawn from an easily accessible population of graduates of WMU’s PA program currently employed in clinical settings. The long range goal of this preliminary study was to build the knowledge base to help determine if 1) PA post-graduate residency programs can identify the learning styles of potential applicants, and 2) use that information to assess the applicant's suitability as a candidate for their particular PA post-graduate program.
The Kolb Learning Style Inventory Version 3 was utilized for assessment of student learning style. Vocational satisfaction was assessed by utilizing the Physician Worklife Survey Instrument, this instrument was adjusted for utilization by PAs by changing the verbiage referring to physicians to PAs.
The independent variables identified are Kolb’s learning style categories (Accommodator, Assimilator, Converger, and Diverger). Dependent variables include medical specialty choice (medicine or surgery) and job satisfaction (Global Job Satisfaction, Career Satisfaction and Specialty Satisfaction).
Statistically significant differences in global job satisfaction are demonstrated between accommodators and convergers, with accommodators having more satisfaction than convergers. Additional results demonstrate statistically significant differences in global job satisfaction between men and women, with women having higher job satisfaction.
No statistically significant findings were demonstrated when looking for associations between learning style and medical specialty, as well as medical specialty and job satisfaction.