Specialty Certification

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Specialty Certification Is the physician assistant (PA) profession shifting away from its origins? At the beginning of the PA profession, the majority of PAs worked in primary care to ameliorate the shortage family medicine clinicians. However, in actuality, only one-third of PAs work in primary care while the vast majority has transferred to specialty practice (Bodenheimer & Cramback, 2009). Furthermore, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), has introduced specialty certification programs which could further change the original purpose of the PA occupation. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the goal of the NCCPA specialty certification program, its advantages, and disadvantages. A specialist PA certified by the NCCPA must meet several requirements. Under the NCCPA’s Certificates of Added…show more content…
For example, CAQ’s have the potential to improve employment opportunities for many PAs. Dearani and Nowak (2015) argue that “Today’s health care paradigm has to reconcile millions of newly insured Americans with an aging population battling chronic conditions and a shortage of physician specialists… Certified PAs must have the education, experience and skills to deliver quality specialty care” (p. 6). CAQ’s are a way for specialty PAs to formally demonstrate their proficiency and advanced knowledge. In addition, according to Danielsen (2009), Governmental agencies like the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are heightening focus on patient safety and risk management. Therefore, the growing diversity of practicing PAs needs to ensure patient quality of care. Specialty certification exams may strengthen the knowledge and skills of the PA working in specialty. Nevertheless, there are various disadvantages to the NCCPA’s CAQ
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