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The education, role, distribution, and compensation of physician assistants in orthopedic surgery

Chalupa, Robyn L. DSc, PA-C; Hooker, Roderick S. PhD, PA

Journal of the American Academy of PAs: May 2016 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 1–7
doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000482318.38700.d1
Special Article

ABSTRACT Physician assistants (PAs) have worked alongside surgeons since the 1970s, yet little is known about their postgraduate education, roles, distribution, and compensation. In 2015, an estimated 8,900 PAs were employed in orthopedics (9.4% of all clinically active PAs in the United States). This study analyzed surveys undertaken by Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery (PAOS) from 2009 to 2015 and found that most PAs working in orthopedics (85%) reported regularly assisting in surgery. Demand for PAs in orthopedics is expected to grow because of population growth, increasing incidence of musculoskeletal conditions, shortages of surgeons, and changing technology. Improved data acquisition and more detailed analyses are needed to better understand the nature of this specialized workforce.

Robyn L. Chalupa is an orthopedics PA and obtained a doctoral degree from the residency at San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. Roderick S. Hooker is a retired PA and health policy analyst. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Acknowledgment: The authors are grateful to the leadership of Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery for access to the membership and survey data. No funding was provided for this article.

Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Physician Assistants
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