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Master Physician Assistant Program

MPA students use simulation to demonstrate their proficiency.

To show how well they perform health assessments and diagnoses, MPA students at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) work with [task trainers] (CW: link to this page), anatomical models, and [Standardized Patients] (SPs) (CW: link to this page)while faculty members observe. Task trainers — including the Virtual IV, Vital Sim™ manikins, spine models, lumbo-sacral spine models, pelvic simulator and lumbar puncture trainers — are used extensively throughout the MPA Program.

A wide-range of simulation is integrated into the PA Program. The students utilize mid-level fidelity simulation when using the Vital Sim™ manikins to demonstrate abnormal pulse rates and heart/lung sounds that might be found in a physical exam.

The PA program has the most developed SP program at SMU. Simulation exercises using SPs help PA students learn how to take medical histories. Debriefing during these sessions provides powerful reinforcement of the lessons learned regarding this critical skill. PA students undergo Objective Structured Clinical Examinations intermittently during their program for competency testing of certain critical skills.

SPs are also used in combination with task trainers, such as the birthing Prompt simulator (hybrid simulation), to prepare PA students for obstetric clinical rotations.

More on SMU's Master Physician Assistant Program.