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The Impact of Team-Based Learning (TBL) on Physician Assistant Students' Academic Performance in Gross Anatomy

Isbell, Jonathan A. MS; Makeeva, Valeria BS; Caruthers, Kara MSPAS, PA-C; Brooks, William S. PhD

The Journal of Physician Assistant Education: September 2016 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 126–130
doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000082
Abstracts & Brief Reports

Jonathan A. Isbell, MS, is a medical student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama.

Valeria Makeeva, BS, is a medical student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama.

Kara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, is an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Alabama Physician Assistant Program, Birmingham, Alabama.

William S. Brooks, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.

Correspondence should be addressed to: William S. Brooks, PhD, Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1670 University Boulevard, Volker Hall 228, Birmingham, AL 35294-0019. Telephone: (205) 934-7596; Email: wbrooks@uab.edu

* Co-first authors.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Abstract

Purpose: Changes in medical education have prevented students from conducting full cadaveric dissections in gross anatomy. The efficacy of alternative educational methods is being explored to augment traditional dissection.

Methods: Team-based learning was integrated into the 2014 gross anatomy laboratory for physician assistants (PA) and nurse anesthetists. Deidentified data from the 2013 and 2014 courses were used to assess with t-tests the effect of this addition on student academic performance.

Results: Students in the 2014 course who experienced team-based learning performed significantly better on 75% of written and laboratory practical examinations (P < .05). Those mean examination increases correlated with a positive shift in final grades. A greater benefit was noted for PA students than for nurse anesthetist students.

Conclusions: Team-based learning is an effective supplement to cadaveric dissection. Student short-term knowledge outcomes improve with the combination of dissection and team-based learning in the gross anatomy laboratory.

Copyright © 2016 Physician Assistant Education Association
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