Analysis of physician assistant career patterns

In 1977, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare supported the Physician Assistant Career Study, a study to understand physician assistant (PA) roles and careers and changes in the PA occupation. Studying recruits from 45 PA programs across the country provided the basis for a longitudinal study of this entire cohort of PAs who entered this new health occupation at a time of great uncertainty about their future role in the medical division of labor. In 1989, the Foundation carried out a follow-up survey of the same PA class of 1977 that illuminated factors affecting funding and the structure of practice. As the 25th anniversary of these same cohort approaches, the research team at Arizona State University has the unique opportunity to study this group toward the end of their clinical careers. The project will continue to study the PA role as it has evolved over the past 25 years. The team will redesign the questionnaire used in the original and follow-up studies to assure that the ideas and concepts reflect the realities of current PA practice. For example, the team will study some new roles and modern key issues important to the PA occupation. These will include: substitution of resident positions by PAs in teaching hospitals, the increasing role of physician assistants in hospitalist positions, and issues pertaining to the role of the PA in managed care. Finally, at a time when regulation of the workforce is a key issue facing all health professions, the team will seek to better understand the changing role of PAs as multi-skilled practitioners and the problems and prospects they face in the workplace. Between two and four articles will be published in health services research journals and the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $49,940.00

Awarded on: 8/2/1999

Time frame: 8/1/1999 - 12/31/2000

Grant Number: 37027


Arizona State University

University Drive and Mill Avenue
Tempe, 85287-0112


Eugene S. Schneller
Project Director