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Measuring Educational Effectiveness and Clinical Comptence in Physician Assistant Training: A Retrospective Survey of the Pacific University Class of 1999 Graduates and Their Supervising Physicians

8 August 2000


The Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies graduated its first class of fourteen PAs in August 1999. The program awards a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies with the mission "to prepare students to provide care for a diverse population in a changing healthcare environment through an education based in primary care medicine with a focus on critical thinking". The PA program received full accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) following graduation of the first class in 1999. To maintain ongoing accreditation, all PA programs must document evidence of continuous self-evaluation and internal curriculum restructuring to keep pace with the demands of changing medical practice. This survey was devised to meet CAAHEP requirements and to answer the research question: how well did the PA programs: how well did the PA program prepare its graduates for clinical practice? Surveys of the Class of 1999 graduates and their supervising physicians were devised, implemented, collected, analyzed, and recorded. Descriptive statistics were computed and recorded in tabular and graphical forms to answer the research question. Overall, PAs and their supervising physician indicates that the PAs were well prepared for clinical practice in their first jobs. All graduates were employed as clinical PAs within four months of graduation, and all successfully passed the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) on the first attempt. Further demographic and employment data were represented and analyzed for uniformity and trends. Educational effectiveness and curriculum usefulness were evaluated and recommendations for continued program improvement are presented.


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