Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Dr. Reid


Current Physician Assistant (PA) education is a well-rounded general education typically followed by on-the-job training for practice-specific responsibilities. In a previous model, where private physicians employed PAs, learning on-the job worked well. However, as hospital-based practice has become more common for PAs, and physicians have started working as hospitalist, there have been less training opportunities for PAs. Therfore, it behooves hospital organizations to establish a new department where education for PA employees and a continuing skills labs for practicing clinicians is provided. While there are well established and reputable PA residency programs available, less than 5% of the PA workforce participate in them as they may not be an option for all PAs.1

With regards to onboarding at a new hospital, sometimes the infrequency of utilizing orientation skills leads to gaps and delays in the necessary processes. Manuals do not often grasp the complexities of our day to day function. Usual hospital orientations are geared towards policies for the overall hospital system and not clinical capacity. Perhaps a designated clinical officer responsible with orienting new hires and to coordinating PA educational resources as needed. Orientation on hospital used devices such as intravenous catheters, blood and culture collection policies, formulary medications, and appropriate documentation and order sets, for example, can provide useful resources for new PAs to hit the ground running. This program can also improve the quality of patient care, decrease recruitment costs, ensure the quality of new hires, and help cover gaps left by new resident duty-hour rules.


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