Global expansion of the Physician Assistant profession: healthcare system needs, scope of practice and future directions
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BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 there will be a shortage of more than 14 million healthcare workers. Fifty years ago, to help address the growing demand for medical providers, the United States created a new medical profession, the Physician Assistant. Since 2000, several other countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Ireland, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, and The Netherlands have developed or are developing their own PA-like profession. LITERATURE REVIEW FINDINGS: This thesis contains a comprehensive literature review, composed largely of small pilot and qualitative studies, which summarizes the introduction and expansion of the PA profession in each country. The literature review highlights that around the globe the PA profession is unified by similar condensed medical education and training. However, there is presently a lack of literature on the current roles and tasks of PAs in each country. PROPOSED PROJECT: This thesis proposes a qualitative study to identify each country’s motivation for PA professional development, current scope of practice of PAs and future directions for the PA profession. CONCLUSIONS: The results will be analyzed to reveal correlations, as well as unifying themes and characteristics that are shared among all PAs globally. SIGNIFICANCE: The compiled data will illuminate an emerging profession that is helping to alleviate the healthcare workforce shortage.