Validation of a clinical rotation evaluation for physician assistant students

Ryan A. Meverden, Jason H. Szostek, Saswati Mahapatra, Cathy D. Schleck, Jayawant N. Mandrekar, Thomas J. Beckman, Christopher M. Wittich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We conducted a prospective validation study to develop a physician assistant (PA) clinical rotation evaluation (PACRE) instrument. The specific aims of this study were to 1) develop a tool to evaluate PA clinical rotations, and 2) explore associations between validated rotation evaluation scores and characteristics of the students and rotations. Methods: The PACRE was administered to rotating PA students at our institution in 2016. Factor analysis, internal consistency reliability, and associations between PACRE scores and student or rotation characteristics were determined. Results: Of 206 PACRE instruments sent, 124 were returned (60.2% response). Factor analysis supported a unidimensional model with a mean (SD) score of 4.31 (0.57) on a 5-point scale. Internal consistency reliability was excellent (Cronbach α=0.95). PACRE scores were associated with students' gender (P =.01) and rotation specialty (P =.006) and correlated with students' perception of being prepared (r = 0.32; P <.001) and value of the rotation (r = 0.57; P <.001). Conclusions: This is the first validated instrument to evaluate PA rotation experiences. Application of the PACRE questionnaire could inform rotation directors about ways to improve clinical experiences. The findings of this study suggest that PA students must be adequately prepared to have a successful experience on their rotations. PA programs should consider offering transition courses like those offered in many medical schools to prepare their students for clinical experiences. Future research should explore whether additional rotation characteristics and educational outcomes are associated with PACRE scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 4 2018


  • Assessment
  • Clinical rotation
  • Physician assistant education
  • Validation study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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