The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a curriculum enhancement project on physician assistant (PA) students' abilities, attitudes, and preparedness to provide collaborative disease management.
The authors identified competencies needed for collaborative chronic disease management and developed curriculum interventions. The interventions were piloted with a single cohort of PA students at the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. Full implementation and evaluation was conducted with a separate cohort of students. Students self-reported their (1) previous exposure to chronic disease; (2) abilities related to collaborative disease management; (3) attitudes towards chronic disease patients and collaborative disease management; (4) preparedness to provide chronic disease care; (5) perceptions of the benefit of the community medicine rotation and; (6) self-efficacy to support patient self-management.
Significant improvements (p < .05) were noted in all 10 ability areas. Few significant changes in attitudes occurred though many attitudes were positively maintained. Significant changes were found for students' preparedness for chronic disease care. Students also reported a high level of self-efficacy to provide patient self-management support.
Findings indicate that curriculum interventions can positively affect PA students' collaborative disease management abilities and sense of preparedness to manage patients with chronic disease. While curriculum enhancement may not significantly improve attitudes, the study suggests that interventions may be supportive of already favorable attitudes. Further study is needed to determine the most time- and cost-effective methods for facilitating improvement in both ability and attitude.