Demographics and nutrition-related patient care encounters: A survey of physician assistants in Nebraska

Corrine K. Hanson, Glenda Woscyna, Sara Kvien Jensen, Elizabeth Lyden, Jim Somers, Ann Grandjean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To collect information regarding demographics, nutrition-related patient care encounters, and comfort levels in addressing nutrition-related problems in a population of physician assistants (PA) currently practicing in Nebraska. Methods: A survey was developed by faculty members in the Medical Nutrition Education and Physician Assistant Education programs, School of Allied Health Professions, College of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Fisher's exact test. A P-value of <.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The return rate of the survey was 70% (N = 266). A high percentage of PAs (86%) reported they often or occasionally encounter nutrition-related issues with patients. In contrast, only 27% of survey respondents felt "very comfortable" in addressing nutrition-related issues. Encountering nutrition issues often and having patients that ask questions about nutrition were significantly associated with a PA's comfort in addressing nutrition issues (P <.001 for both). Conclusion: PAs are very likely to encounter nutrition-related issues in their practice. Attention to nutrition-related topics in the PA curriculum and continuing education may be beneficial in increasing the comfort of PAs in addressing these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription


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