Four Approaches to Canadian Physician Assistant Education: Does how we teach PAs make a difference?
A survey response from Canadian PAs
Keywords:Physician Assistant, Education, Teaching Design, transfer-of-learning
Each of the four Canadian PA programs have a unique approach in educating and training their students where in the end, all students share the same competency and equivalence. The University of Toronto approaches its delivery of education through distance learning; McMaster University through problem-based learning; and the University of Manitoba and Canadian Armed Forces through direct instruction.
The purpose of this study was to determine how the delivery of PA education and different teaching designs influence the transfer-of-learning of Canadian PAs when transitioning from formal training to clinical practice. This descriptive study used an online survey to understand the gross patterns that emerged from each institute.
The survey collected 90 responses in total. Majority respondents of all PA programs were employing the training designs emphasized by their institute; there was a correlation between the most common resource provided by their program and the most frequently used resource that PAs personally used to support their education. When transitioning from didactic year to clinical rotations, majority of PAs from the University of Manitoba, the University of Toronto and Canadian Armed Forces felt confident in practicing medicine. On average, it took McMaster University graduates nine months to feel comfortable in their role as PAs, eight months for the University of Manitoba graduates, seven months for the University of Toronto graduates and twelve months for Canadian Armed Forces graduates. Unique trends in the transfer-of-learning of PAs were not noted across the PA programs in Canada despite each program’s unique training design.
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