The U.S. Army and Baylor University created a stir when they announced their PA clinical doctorate degree residency program in emergency medicine at the Physician Assistant Education Association forum in Tucson, Ariz., in November 2007.
Doctorate degrees have been increasing among health care professionals for more than a decade. Audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and pharmacy, for example, have all moved to the entry-level doctorate degree. The nurse practitioner profession adopted the entry-level doctorate degree in 2006, and the DNP will be mandated for all advanced practice nursing graduates by 2015.
Even though the specter of doctorate degrees has been hanging over the PA profession for years, the formal announcement of the Army program brought the controversy to the forefront. News of the Army’s program roiled educators at the PAEA forum and sparked furious debate about clinical doctorate degrees and PAs
It’s a very well-written article, and the included sidebar points out one of the biggest problems with a ‘midlevel doctorate’ for PA’s: they’re dependent on their relationship with Physicians in a way NP’s definitely aren’t. No support for this from docs=real problems for the PA programs (and not just the doctoral programs, all of them).
We live in interesting times.