Investigational Overview of Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences

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Abstract

Purpose

While the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) provides standards, there is variation allowed in design and implementation of supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). Limited research has assessed for a correlation between SCPE design and program outcomes, including PANCE “First-Time Taker Pass Rate.” The objective of this research is to evaluate for trends and best practices in clinical education design, as well as any correlation to PANCE pass rate.

Methods

Data were gathered through an online survey with 14 multiple-choice questions referring to “core” clinical rotations and then anonymously tabulated. Participants were identified by ARC-PA's listing of PA programs as of May 2014, excluding those programs with “Accreditation-Provisional” or “Accreditation-Probation” statuses. Contact was initiated with one faculty member at each program. A post hoc analysis was performed to evaluate for correlations between SCPE design and PANCE pass rates.

Results

Our research quantifies variation in many aspects of the administration and design of the clinical education curriculum. During post hoc analysis, the groups were divided into “above average” and “average or below” in relation to PANCE pass rates compared with the national average, with several significant differences identified. These differences include the average length of rotation, programs that require a minimum end-of-rotation passing score, and programs that require a minimum score on the preceptor evaluation.

Conclusions

This research demonstrated many viable options and approaches to various components of clinical education, as well as some correlations between supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) design and PANCE first-time taker pass rates.

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