Hospital medicine is the fastest‐growing medical field in the United States. Given a pressing shortage of hospi‐talist physicians and restrictions on resident duty hours, the number of physician assistants (PAs) in hospital medicine is only expected to increase. In 2006, the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) identified 51 core competencies in hospital medicine. Limited general medicine inpatient experience during PA school necessitates substantial on‐the‐job training to realize proficiencies related to these competencies. We conducted a survey study to understand the clinical experience level of hospitalist PAs on starting their hospitalist careers.
After obtaining institutional review board approval, an Internet‐based survey was distributed to 116 PAs identified in the Facebook group “PAs in Hospital Medicine.” Subjects were eligible to participate if they were PAs with experience working in hospital medicine settings taking care of adult internal medicine inpatients. The survey content was guided based on the clinical topics within SHM's core competencies, and participants were asked to rate their experience level in each of the 19 clinical conditions prior to starting their hospitalist careers using a 5‐point Likert scale ranging from 1 = “knew nothing about the condition” to 5 = “had experience taking care of many (>5) patients.” Once the survey was completed, the results were analyzed using Stata. Descriptive statistics were used to identify their clinical experience level.
Of the 116 invited to participate, 65 responded (response rate, 56%). Sixty‐four percent of respondents were female, and 56% were between 26 and 35 years old. The mean number of years working as a PA was 8 years, with 4.3 years working as a hospitalist PA. About half (48%) became hospitalists immediately after graduating from PA school. Of 19 core competence clinical conditions, prior to starting their hospitalist careers, they had the most clinical experience taking care of patients with diabetes mellitus (4.5), urinary tract infection (4.5), and asthma (4.3) and the least amount of experience taking care of patients with hospital‐acquired pneumonia (3.2), sepsis syndrome (3.3), and alcohol and drug withdrawal (3.4).
PAs who are choosing hospitalist careers are young, and they have limited prior clinical experience in the hospital. The noted variations in clinical experience level with specific clinical conditions mandates that hospitalist programs be learner centered so as to provide tailored guidance and oversight to newly hired hospitalist PAs.
H. Torok ‐ none; C. Lackner ‐ none; R. Landis ‐ none; S. Wright ‐ none
To cite this abstract:Torok H, Lackner C, Landis R, Wright S. How Clinically Experienced Are the Physician Assistants Who Are Joining the Hospitalist Workforce?. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2011, May 10-13, Dallas, Texas. Abstract 131. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2011; 6 (suppl 2). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/how-clinically-experienced-are-the-physician-assistants-who-are-joining-the-hospitalist-workforce/. Accessed March 30, 2020.