Physician Assistant Simulation


The OHSU PA Program uses Task Training Simulation and Manikin-based Simulation within the PAST 526 Applied Clinical Skills course during the spring term of the Academic year. During this course students are taught how to perform many different skills that they will use as Physician Assistants. In order for the student to demonstrate proficiency with these skills, different simulation types are used. Not only is this a great way for students to practice (sometimes repeatedly) but in many instances it eliminates the need for a live person to be the recipient of these sometimes invasive procedures.

Some examples of Task Training Simulation within the Applied Clinical Skills course include when students are putting on casts and splints on their fellow classmates, practicing suturing on pig skin, simulated operating room (O.R.) experiences where they learn how to scrub, gown, glove and move about the O.R., how to perform various office-based lab tests (UA, throat culture, pulse oximetry, pregnancy test), practicing injections, IV insertion and blood draws on a willing classmate.

Manikin-based Simulation is used in the course when students are practicing urinary catheter insertion, injections, lumbar punctures and during the BLS/ACLS certification.

While simulation is not limited to use within this course it does give us the opportunity to teach skills in a lifelike environment without risk to patients and with instant feedback from the instructors.It also gives the student the opportunity to repeatedly practice.

Physician Assistant Simulation Coordinators


    Pat Kenney-Moore                       Curt Stilp                                Claire Hull
              MS, PA-C                                  MS, PA-C                                 MHS, PA-C

Standardized patient training for PA Program

Beginning with the first week of classes, newly matriculated physician assistant students begin developing physical examination skills that will be the cornerstone of their future medical careers. Utilizing the patient simulation rooms located at the Collaborative Life Science Building. Students practice hands-on physical examination techniques until they demonstrate proficiency -initially on classmates, and ultimately on standardized patients. By the end of the first term, PA students are capable of performing a complete screening physical examination that is approximately 30 minutes in length.

Students encounter standardized patients during a variety of activities during both the academic as well as the clinical year. At the conclusion of a Medical Spanish course, students meet Spanish speaking standardized patients where they practice their newfound skills in eliciting a medical history. Gynecologic and genitourinary examinations are taught with the assistance of standardized patients who guide students through these sensitive examination techniques.To assess expanding competencies, students engage in four different Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) during their time at OHSU, where they encounter standardized patients who portray a variety of patient roles. OSCE examinations provide students an opportunity to practice history taking, physical examination and communication skills in a supportive environment prior to utilizing those skills with real patients. Finally, students take a culminating examination with standardized patients, the Clinical Performance Examination (CPX), administered to all second year PA students and third year medical students. Standardized patient simulation is a key component of both learning and assessment in the physician assistant program that allows interaction between faculty, students and SPs and contributes to student confidence and performance.