Survey of psychiatric physician assistants determining scope of practice, preparedness, and post-graduate training.

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Ginther, Amanda
Woydziak, Mindy
Quigley, Timothy F.

Ginther, Amanda, Woydziak, Mindy and Tim Quigley (2009). Survey of Psychiatric Physician Assistants Determining Scope of Practice, Preparedness, and Post -Graduate Training . In Proceedings: 5th Annual Symposium: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 102-103


The physician assistant was originally created to alleviate the lack of physicians in primary care. Today, with the growing trend of specialization, an increasing number of PAs are following suit with physicians and opting to specialize. Psychiatry is one of many specialties and as of 2006, accounts for only 1% of practicing PAs. Formal training specifically for psychiatry is sparse and relies heavily on on-the-job training. Since the demand for PAs in psychiatry has grown over the past 10-15 years, it is expected that the current scope of practice, level of preparedness, and post-graduate training have all been directly affected. A 13 question survey assessing the scope of practice, level of preparedness, and post-graduate training in psychiatry was developed and tested. The survey was distributed to current members of the Association of Psychiatric Physician Assistants (APPA). Scope of practice was diffuse. Forty percent of respondents felt somewhat prepared upon entering the field of psychiatry, and 60% felt adequately prepared after 0 to 2 years in practice. In addition to PA certification, only 8% of respondents maintained other licenses or certifications pertaining to psychiatry. Overall, it appears that the PA scope of practice has broadened over the years, yet post-graduate training is inadequate and proves the importance of on-the-job training and continuing medical education (CME) in psychiatry.

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Paper presented to the 5th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, Wichita State University, May 1, 2009.
Research completed at the Department of Physician Assistant - College of Health Professions