Exploring residents' perceptions of PA and NP roles and barriers to collaboration

M.N. Polansky*, D. Herrmann, D.H.J.M. Dolmans, M. Govaerts, U. Koch, J. Berger, R.E. Stalmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: Developing competencies for interprofessional collaboration, including understanding other professionals' roles on interprofessional teams, is an essential component of medical education. This study explored resident physicians' perceptions of the clinical roles and responsibilities of physician assistants (PAs) and NPs in the clinical learning environment.Methods: Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 residents in one academic setting. Transcripts were analyzed using an iterative approach to inductive coding.Results: Participants typically perceived PAs' and NPs' roles as being "like a resident," less commonly as independent clinicians, and rarely as collaborators. Barriers to understanding PA and NP roles and perceiving them as collaborators included the lack of preparatory instruction about PAs and NPs, the hierarchical structure of medical education, and inadequate role modeling of interprofessional collaboration.Conclusions: This study suggests that barriers in the clinical learning environment and the structure of medical education itself may impede residents' learning about PAs and NPs and how to collaborate with them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages5
JournalJAAPA : official journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • interprofessional
  • residents
  • physician assistants
  • NPs
  • clinical learning environment
  • collaboration

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