Temple Physician Assistant Program Achieves 100% Pass Rate on National Exam for Third Consecutive Year
Photo caption: Pictured is the third cohort of LKSOM’s Physician Assistant Program, which was the largest graduating class to date. (photo taken before March 2020).
Launched only four years ago, the Physician Assistant Program at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine has already achieved some significant distinctions. Most recently, word came that this year’s graduating class has achieved a 100% pass rate on the physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), making it the third class in as many years to ace the exam.
The PANCE is comprised of 300 multiple choice questions administered in five, 60-minute blocks. The exam is broken into two categories – organ systems and task-related areas – and assesses medical and surgical knowledge required to become a certified physician assistant.
“From the minute you enter the PA program everybody is talking about the PANCE,” says 2020 graduate Molly Peters, who will begin working as an advanced practice fellow in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Critical Care Medicine in January. “It’s like this ghoul hanging over your head. But the Temple PA program didn’t coddle us, they held us to a higher standard which I believe translates to the 100% pass rate.
“The program provided excellent feedback during clinical rotations as well as questions and situations similar to those on the PANCE so we would be ready,” she continues. “Actual patients don’t always present in a textbook way, so all of the hands-on, real-life experience we had was very valuable.”
“I’m thrilled we have a 100% pass rate,” says Paige Hoban, who graduated in 2018 and currently works as a physician assistant in the medical respiratory ICU at Temple. “The Temple PA program is top of the line. We were taught to hone-in on pertinent body systems, diagnoses, and treatments. The faculty was excellent and comes from a wide range of specialties. We were also able to use all of the resources LKSOM has to offer.”
“I was a nervous wreck about the exam, but everyone at Temple was very reassuring,” adds Peggy Malloy, a class of 2020 graduate who accepted a position as a physician assistant with Temple Pediatrics. “Our clinical rotations prepared us for end-of-rotation exams which were similar to the PANCE, so we had an idea about what to expect. The program also provided us with question-bank subscriptions so we could study from practice questions. I treated studying like a full-time job for a month before taking the exam.”
LKSOM has been educating medical students for more than 100 years and the PA Program falls right in line with Temple’s tradition of excellence in medical education. Once PA students begin clinical rotations, the expectations are the same as they are for the medical students.
“It’s the students and the faculty who contribute to our high success rate,” says Christine Mount, MS, PA-C, program Direct of the PA Program and Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery. “I think there are a lot of people we can applaud for this. It’s relatively unusual for a program this young to have such an experienced faculty and we do a review course at the end of the program. We also encourage students to take the exam quickly and all of them have taken it within a month of completing the program.”
“Our high job placement rate also speaks volumes about the program,” adds Mount. “Most of our grads stay local and nine of them are working for Temple Health. The highest compliment to the program is when I run into their bosses and they say, ‘I’m coming to you when I have another job opening.’”