Students in the Physician Assistant Program at Penn State College of Medicine take part in the White Coat Ceremony in 2016, during which the students receive their white coats signifying the start of their training. Three female students are seen in the foreground, reading from the event program, with a male and female student visible in the background.

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

Physician Assistant Program: Success at Meeting Program Goals

Goal 1: To enroll an academically qualified, diverse student body, with special consideration for those underrepresented in medicine, first generation in college, veterans and active duty Service Members, educationally disadvantaged, or economically disadvantaged.

To determine our effectiveness in meeting this goal, each year we review the percentage of students who met one of the above identified criteria. Below is the results for each year by category.

Table 1: Number and percent of matriculating students who self-report underrepresented in medicine, first generation in college, veterans and active duty Service Members, educationally disadvantaged, or economically disadvantaged.

Goal 2: To promote the development of critical thinking skills.

To determine our effectiveness in meeting this goal, we utilize the following data sources:

  • Number of courses that utilize Team Based Learning (TBL), a critical thinking pedagogy, throughout the PA curriculum
  • Preceptor ratings of student’s critical thinking skills during clinical rotations
  • Performance on the PACKRAT in the area of diagnosis
  • Performance on the PANCE in the task area of “Formulating Most Likely Diagnosis”

Table 1: Number of courses that utilize TBL

Table 2: Preceptor ratings of student’s critical thinking skills

(Ratings: 1=Unsatisfactory; 2=Marginal; 3=Competent; 4=Commendable; 5=Distinguished)

Table 3: Performance on the PACKRAT in the area of diagnosis for Year 1, Year 2 and compared with national

Table 4: Performance on the PANCE in the task area of “Formulating Most Likely Diagnosis”

Goal 3: To enable graduates to practice competent health care with an emphasis in primary care and/or work in federally designated underserved communities.

To determine our effectiveness in meeting this goal, each year we determine the percentage of PSCOM PA graduates who practice in at least one of the following: primary care and/or in a federally designated underserved community.

Table 1: PSCOM PA Graduates Practicing in Primary Care or Federally Designated Underserved Communities

*Note: Not all students have secured a position or the location in which they practice is unknown.

MUA= Medically underserved area; HPSA= Health professional shortage area

Goal 4: To prepare students for their role as professional clinicians.

To determine our effectiveness in meeting this goal, we utilize the following data sources:

  • Preceptor ratings of student's clinical performance
  • Students ratings on the Student Exit Survey

Table 1: Preceptor ratings of student’s clinical performance

Ratings: 1=Unsatisfactory; 2=Marginal; 3=Competent; 4=Commendable; 5=Distinguished

**Partial year: Clinical year May-March

€ Data not collected

Table 2: Results from Student Exit Survey (graduating students), Class of 2016-Class of 2020

Top number: Number of students. Bottom number: Mean rating.

Scale: 1=Strong disagree to 5=Strongly agree