Public Knowledge and Beliefs Regarding Licensure, Certification and Medical Education of Physician Assistants
Journal of Medical Regulation
Physician assistants (PAs) must pass the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) certification exam to become licensed; and to remain certified, they must earn continuing medical education credits as well as pass an assessment every 10 years. However, there is a dearth of research on public knowledge of and beliefs regarding licensure, certification and medical education of PAs. Thus, we examined public knowledge and beliefs by conducting an online survey in late
... 8. When asked if the statement "PAs must pass a national certifying exam as one requirement for obtaining an initial license to practice medicine" was true or false, the majority (75.9%) correctly indicated that the statement is true. Regarding beliefs, most respondents strongly agreed or agreed that PAs should be licensed by state medical boards (87.6%), should continually learn about new medical information (91.7%), should be assessed regularly on their medical knowledge (82.0%), should be held to the same standards of care as physicians (78.6%) and should be well-educated in medicine (77.7%). Evaluation of public knowledge and beliefs about licensure, certification and medical education of PAs is important, as members of the public are vital stakeholders for certification organizations and medical regulatory bodies. Certification organizations and medical regulatory bodies are accountable to the public, and periodic assessment of public perspectives can provide insight and help inform decision-making regarding regulatory and certification changes to meet patient expectations regarding safe, high-quality medical care.