Dr. Laura Witte; Dr. Elijah Salzer
Introduction: Clinical site shortages are a challenge to the sustainability of physician assistant (PA) training programs and meeting the growing staffing demands of the healthcare industry. As competition for quality clinical sites rises amongst physician, nurse practitioner (NP), and PA training programs, the need to identify alternatives to clinical placements becomes more urgent.
Objective: To determine the feasibility of replacing clinical hours with simulation activities in PA education.
Results: PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar were searched using the following phrases: “simulation physician assistant national certifying exam” (three publications, none relevant); “physician assistant national certifying exam” (21 publications, none relevant); “simulation certifying exam” (48 results, none relevant); “simulation and licensure” (361 results, two directly relevant to the review question); “simulation training physician assistant” (159 results, none both relevant and unique from prior results); “Physician Assistant Student simulation pass rates” (zero results); “Physician Assistant Student simulation” (140 results, none both relevant and unique from prior results). No formal studies assessing the replacement of clinical hours with simulation activities in PA training programs could be located. Studies on this topic have been performed in other health professions.
Conclusions: No empirical evidence supporting the replacement of clinical hours with simulation activities in PA education currently exists. Studies in other health professions training programs suggest it may be a viable solution to clinical site shortages. Further research should be conducted in this area.
Gerke JR. Replacing Clinical Hours with Simulation Activities in Physician Assistant Education. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2022; 4(4).
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