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J Physician Assist Educ. 2012;23(1):24-7.

An educational strategy for using physician assistant students to provide health promotion education to community adolescents.

Author information

  • 1University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, CHA/PA Program, Aurora, Colorado, USA. cathy.ruff@ucdenver.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The "Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession" identify core competencies that physician assistants (PAs) are expected to acquire and maintain throughout their career (see http://www.nccpa.net/pdfs/Definition%20of%20PA%20Competencies% 203.5%20for%20Publication.pdf). Two categories of competencies relate to patient care and interpersonal and communication skills and articulate the need for PAs to be effective communicators and patient educators. The value of a health education curriculum for the adolescent population has been recognized since the early 1900s. PA student-designed health promotion presentations aimed at the adolescent population are an innovative educational strategy involving students in community education.

METHODS:

PA student-designed presentations based upon previously identified topics were presented in the community. Students presented topics including Smoking Cessation, The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol, Self-Esteem, and others to adolescents. Community audiences were varied and included alternative high schools and teens within the Department of Youth Corrections facilities.

RESULTS:

PA students created 17 portable presentations for community adolescents. Two hundred sixty-eight students gave presentations to more than 700 adolescents ranging from 11-22 years of age between the years 2005-2010. Eighty-two percent (646/791) of adolescent participants either strongly agreed or agreed that they learned at least one new piece of information from the presentations. Sixty percent (12/20) of community leaders requested that the PA students return to give additional health promotion presentations. Analysis of comments by PA students revealed that 98% of students found the experience beneficial. Students identified the experience as helping them better understand how to design presentations to meet the needs of their audience, feel more comfortable with adolescents, and gain confidence in communicating. Seventy-five percent stated they would continue to be involved in community education because of the experience.

CONCLUSIONS:

These presentations serve to enrich student professional development, enhance community awareness of the PA profession, and provide educational information to adolescent populations, many of whom are considered at-risk. In addition, this model serves to enhance the service-learning curriculum.

PMID:
22479903
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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