Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


PA Education


Dr. Laura Witte PhD, PA-C



This systematic review aims to evaluate if point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) trained faculty in physician assistant (PA) education programs could potentially increase the use of POCUS by PAs upon graduation. Learning opportunities afforded to students, the potential effects of integration into clinical practice, and the potential consequences of continued complacency in education are further correlated by examining available literature.


Data was collected from online search engines PubMed, and Google Scholar using the search terms POCUS, point of care ultrasound, ultrasound, physician assistant, medical, standard, faculty, education, competency, and student. 136 articles resulted which were further reviewed for relevance to POCUS education. 67 full-text articles were reviewed and the most pertinent were selected based on the depth of investigation and questions further raised by the meta-analysis. Utilizing PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review was performed and 54 articles serve as the basis for this article.


Multiple barriers to POCUS integration were identified including a lack of PA educators trained in POCUS. A lack of data exists on the training of PAs, PA educators, and PA students. There are no standards for PA POCUS education or faculty training. Several concerns were raised by this analysis including potential limits to PA practice autonomy in clinical settings.


It is clear based on the volume of data available that further study directly focused on PA POCUS education is warranted. Current barriers stem from PA education which has not prioritized POCUS education at the same speed as traditional medical schools. Increasing the number of trained PAs in POCUS will increase access to POCUS in clinical practice, thereby potentially reducing costs, unnecessary transfers, and diagnostic testing while improving patient outcomes and patient satisfaction in the perception of care. Further research will be helpful to investigate the impacts of increased faculty POCUS education, its effects on POCUS application in clinical practice, the subsequent care of patients, and the PA profession.


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