Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies


Background: In 1994, Costa Rica decided to transition to a universal healthcare system. The country currently ranks in the top 10 percent internationally on standardized metrics that correlate with improved patient outcomes. Statistics like this would indicate Costa Rica’s universal healthcare is thriving. However, burnout is currently becoming a global crisis and must be accounted for to optimize patient care. There is little to no information regarding burnout rates in Costa Rica’s universal healthcare system. For the health system to maintain operating at its highest potential it is necessary to identify if burnout is occurring, and take action to alleviate its consequences.

Purpose: This study aims to identify how Costa Rica has successfully implemented a universal healthcare system. This study was also conducted to determine causes, consequences, and solutions to burnout that may be applicable to Costa Rica’s healthcare system.

Methods: Comprehensive literature reviews were conducted using Augsburg’s Lindell Library online databases, Google Scholar, PubMed, and ScienceDirect. The literature reviews were conducted to identify how Costa Rica has implemented a universal healthcare system, identify burnout rates in Costa Rica, and to identify causes, consequences, and solutions to burnout among healthcare providers. Interviews with a physician and a former nurse practicing in Costa Rica were used to assess if burnout is occurring in Costa Rica's healthcare system.

Conclusions: Four specific reforms have contributed to Costa Rica successfully implementing a universal healthcare system. However, Costa Rican healthcare providers are likely experiencing some degree of burnout and strategies to combat the negative consequences of burnout should be implemented. Finally, more formal research should be conducted to assess levels of burnout across Costa Rica’s entire healthcare system, and to identify if any strategies are already being used to prevent burnout.


SC 11.PAS.2023.Lawler.T