Study: PAs feel disconnect with job title

An overwhelming 90% of physician assistants (PA) feel a disconnect between their official title and their role in healthcare. This sentiment is also shared by many patients, physicians, nurses, and others working in the healthcare setting.

This research comes from WPP, an agency charged with conducting a Title Change Investigation for the American Academy of PAs. The Initiative began a year ago with the goal of investigating the feasibility of changing the legal title of the PA profession, “physician assistant,” along with identifying potential alternatives that better reflect modern PA practice. The overarching goal of the project is to position PAs to successfully compete in the changing healthcare marketplace.

About 6,000 PAs and 1,300 PA students responded to the study. Interviews and focus groups were also conducted with PAs, patients, and others in healthcare. The initial results indicate that PAs are viewed favorably, offer expanding access to care, and reduce healthcare costs. However, the title physician assistant is not seen as a good fit with PA roles and responsibilities because the word assistant does not align with what PAs do and causes confusion with patients about what PAs can legally do.

According to a press release from American Academy of PAs, overall research conducted so far strongly suggests a new title for PAs be pursued.

Source: AAPA