Physician assistant program medical directors' opinions of an entry-level physician assistant clinical doctorate degree

Bettie Coplan, Lendell Richardson, James D. Stoehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess physician assistant (PA) program medical directors' opinions related to an entry-level clinical doctorate degree for PAs. Methods: After a review of relevant literature, a 16-question survey regarding the PA clinical doctorate degree was developed and distributed to all PA program medical directors. Twelve questions contained statements to which the respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement, using a 5-point Likert scale. Results: The survey return rate was 55.9%. The majority of medical directors who responded disagreed that a PA clinical doctorate would be associated with any of the potential benefits that have been proposed in the literature. Seventy-two percent disagreed that an entry-level clinical doctorate is needed for PAs to compete with nurse practitioners (NPs) who have earned doctorates of nursing practice (DNPs), and 89.4% disagreed that a PA doctorate is necessary to provide a higher standard of patient care. Most of the respondents (89.4%) also disagreed that a clinical doctorate should be the entry-level degree for PAs. With regard to potential disadvantages, the majority of medical directors agreed that a PA entry-level clinical doctorate would have some drawbacks. Seventy-five percent of respondents agreed that patients will confuse PAs who have clinical doctorates with physicians, while 57.6% agreed that a PA clinical doctorate would have a negative impact on physician-PA relationships. Conclusions: Overall, the study results reveal that the majority of PA program medical directors have unfavorable opinions toward an entry-level PA clinical doctorate and currently do not support its implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription


Dive into the research topics of 'Physician assistant program medical directors' opinions of an entry-level physician assistant clinical doctorate degree'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this