Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Szarzynski, Jeanne


The physician assistant (PA) profession is a relatively new and ever-growing field within healthcare. PAs serve patients in many different specialties alongside a wide variety of other members of healthcare teams. With the exponential growth of the PA profession the understanding of the role they provide is essential to other healthcare workers. Since the emergence of the PA there has been one study on the relationship between Registered Nurses (RNs) and PAs, and this occurred over thirty years ago. An understanding between team members continues to be key to promoting effective care of patients in healthcare teams. Therefore, the study aims to assess RNs’ overall knowledge of the PA profession and how it correlates to their perception of PAs. An original questionnaire was created and distributed to Bethel University’s Nurse Midwife program and via Facebook recruitment. A total of 45 participants completed the survey and were assessed based on the number of years worked with PAs. Sixteen RNs worked less than one year, 17 worked 1-3 years with PAs and 12 worked over 3 years with PAs. Knowledge questions were asked to obtain a baseline for the RNs’ understanding of PAs’ role. The sample responded correctly to 96.2% of factual questions on average. Eight questions were asked to obtain the RNs’ overall perception of PAs. The section was graded using the Likert Scale. Of the sample, the average score came to 4.5, with a 5 being the most positive perception option for all questions. Finally, the knowledge score was compared to the perception score of each participant. The Pearson’s Correlation value was calculated for this data and was 0.0049. The data analysis revealed RNs have adequate knowledge about the PA profession and overall positive perception of PAs. Additionally, there was no correlation between the RNs knowledge and perception of PAs.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons