Michigan Health Council survey shows effect of lack of educators on PA rotation programs

The Michigan Health Council (MHC) recently released a investigation detailing the clinical rotation experiences of the state’s 10 physician assistant (PA) rotation programs.

The poll aiming to understand how students in PA programs are placed into clinical rotations, the costs of these 10 programs in Michigan, and the barriers that prevent these students from entering clinical rotation and the Michigan workforce.

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The MHC conducted this investigation due to continued confusion in the space of PA clinical rotations. Michelle Wein, director of research at MHC and author of the survey report, said MHC wants to understand how different programs rotate in hopes of standardizing the process across all programs.

“I think there is hope for collaboration between programs to make the clinical rotation space a little less like the wild west and more governed by actual guidelines and rules that we all agree to follow. “, Wein said.

The survey revealed that the 10 programs all have a different way of funding their clinical placements. In some cases, the program is charged, the student is charged, or both. Below is a graph showing where the loads are coming from among the programs.

Image: Michigan Board of Health

The survey also found that most programs increase student tuition for costs associated with placing students on rotations.

Image: Michigan Board of Health

“Programs reported that fees for rotations that are paid to take students can range from $100 to $1,500 per rotation,” the survey states. “But most respondents listed it as closer to $500 to $800.”

The most expensive rotations include emergency medicine and women’s health. According to the poll, women’s health is also one of the hardest rotations to break into. Pediatrics is also one of the most difficult to tackle.

Wein said that’s because there aren’t enough instructors or preceptors in the pediatric and women’s health space to keep up with student demand. This will lead to less educated workers in the profession, not solving the problem of demand for preceptors.

“There just aren’t enough preceptors, period,” Weir said. “So there is a lot of demand for a very small number of spots [in rotations]hence the [higher] costs associated with these rotations.

Wein said discussion with local leaders and between institutions is needed to come together to incentivize preceptors and educators in the state. Additionally, leaders need to come together to ensure that programs with more money don’t dominate the rotation, forcing smaller programs to close.

MHC will continue to investigate different intersections of the health workforce to give recommendations to the legislature in the future with data to support their recommendations.

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