Educational Research Database

As physician assistant (PA) roles expand and diversify in the United States and around the world, there is a pressing need for research that illuminates how they may best be selected, educated, and used in health systems in order to maximize their potential contributions to health. Our PA program is creating a permanent longitudinal education database for research that contains extensive student-level data. 

This database will allow us to conduct research on all phases of PA education, from admissions processes through the professional practice of our graduates. Over time, trends among different PA cohorts can be compared. By merging other data onto our longitudinal database, we may be able to evaluate quality and efficiency outcomes of the care that our graduates provide. We hope to encourage other PA programs to initiate similar projects so that in the future data can be combined for use in multi-institutional research that can contribute to improved education for PA students across programs.

Current Database Contents

Data/Survey Data Type When Administered or Collected Overview of Content
Student admissions data Existing data from CASPA application Following each annual application cycle 
  • Demographics
  • Academic background
  • GRE scores
  • Essays
  • Volunteer experience
  • Health care experience
  • Work experience
  • Interview evaluations 
New student survey Survey Within first month or first year 
  • Current ratings of health, well-being, fatigue, social support, financial concerns
  • Military experience
  • Previous education
  • PA application process and career decision-making
  • Previous work experience
  • Future practice/career plans
  • Demographics, including income & debt status
  • Motivation for pursuing career as PA
Student volunteerism Existing data Monitored throughout PA education
  • Name of volunteer organization
  • Total hours volunteered at organization
Student leadership 

Existing data

Monitored throughout PA education 
  • Student society nominations and elections
  • Other evidence of leadership
Pre-clinical year academic records  Existing data 

Monitored throughout pre-clinical year

  • All grades for pre-clinical year coursework
  • GPA & class rank
Midpoint survey  Survey May-June of pre-clinical year
  • Current ratings of health, well-being, fatigue, social support, financial concerns
  • Future practice/career plans
  • 8-item Grit survey
  • Big 5 personality survey
Clinical year academic records  Existing data  Monitored throughout clinical year 
  • All grades for clinical year coursework
  • PANCE scores
  • GPA & class rank 

Graduating student survey 

Survey 

May of clinical year

  • Current ratings of health, well-being, fatigue, social support, financial concerns
  • Future practice/career plans
  • Life events
  • Sexual orientation 

Alumni survey

Survey 

Spring of year following graduation (and subsequent years thereafter)

  • Employment status
  • Practice information (specialty, hours, number pts seen, roles)
  • Job satisfaction
  • Starting annual salary
  • Loan repayment
  • Stress, burnout
  • Job search (for new graduates only) 

 

Database Resources

For more information, or to request to be added to our email distribution list, please write to:
perri.morgan@duke.edu