PA Program Goals
On-Campus Interview Process for Admission Candidates
Multiple mini-interviews are used during the on-campus interviews of graduate student applicants. Candidates complete a series of task-oriented and interview based stations designed to evaluate various non-cognitive attributes necessary to be successful within the Program and/or discernment to the PA profession. Candidates are evaluated by College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences faculty, staff, alumni, active preceptors, and/or community based PAs.
Summary of Attrition Rates
The PA Program closely monitors attrition rates, as our ultimate goal is to graduate everyone we accept into the Program. The desired benchmark is an attrition rate of less than 5% which we have maintained through 4 of the past 5 years. There is a 1.3% average attrition rate for the three most recent graduating classes (Classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021).
Rating of Curriculum Instruction
Each year, students who are about to graduate are asked to rate curricular instruction in various topics as identified in the ARC-PA Standards. According to the classes of 2018 – 2020 PA Exit Survey, the average student rating on the item, “My level of confidence in my preparation to enter PA practice and provide medical care under the supervisor and direction of a physician” was 4.3 for 2018, 4.1 for 2019, and 4.3 for 2020 on a rating scale ranging from 1 = “strongly disagree” to 5.0 = “strongly agree.” Our Program’s benchmark is an average rating of 3.0 or higher.
Summary of PACKRAT Performance
In eight of the last ten years, Butler’s didactic year PA classes have exceed the national average on the end-Didactic PACKRAT examination. In each of the last ten years, Butler’s experiential year PA classes have exceeded the national average on the end-Program PACKRAT examination. Based on the data from 2020 PACKRAT examination that was administered in the Spring of 2020, areas of particular strength for Butler students include Health Maintenance, Clinical Therapeutics, Diagnostic Studies, and Orthopedics/Rheumatology.
Summary of Student Rotation Evaluations by Preceptors
Over the past two years, our clinical preceptors have rated their level of agreement with how well our experiential year PA students perform in each of the following areas: elicit medical histories, perform physical examinations, order and apply the results of clinical tests, diagnostic reasoning, procedural competency, patient management and education, maintenance of medical records, professionalism, and preparedness for entry into clinical practice. Preceptor ratings have been at or above an average Likert rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 (where 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree) in each of the above areas. Our Program benchmark is an average rating of 3.0 or higher.
Summary of PANCE Performance
First-attempt PANCE pass rates for Butler PA students were 96% (Class of 2019), 100% (Class of 2020), and 96% (Class of 2021). These pass rates exceed the national average for all PA programs which were 93% (Class of 2019), 95% (Class of 2020), and 93% (Class of 2021).
Summary of Clinical Rotation Requirements
Our PA students complete clinical rotations in the following specialties: emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, mental health, pediatrics, and women’s health. Emergency medicine, family medicine, and internal medicine are a total of 8 weeks in length. General surgery, mental health, and pediatrics are 4 weeks long. Additionally, each student selects an elective rotation of their choice that is 4 weeks in duration. These clinical experiences allow all of our students to have exposure to inpatient, outpatient, operating room and emergency department settings over the course of the curriculum.
Practice Settings of Recent Program Graduates
Based upon responses on employment surveys of our three most recently graduated classes, 75% accepted their first PA position in non-surgical practice, and 25% in surgical practice—18% of were in primary care, 29% in non-primary care, and 28% in internal medicine. Overall, the 4 most common practice areas of our recent graduates were emergency medicine/urgent care, family medicine, hospitalist, and orthopedics.
Ways in which cultural sensitivity is encouraged during the didactic phase of training
In addition to 100% of all students passing the Social and Behavioral Medicine course that includes a curriculum focusing, in part, on the spiritual and cultural aspects of the patient, students participate in activities such as:
- Long Term Care Facility interaction
- Neonatal experiences
- Jewish Community Center/Indianapolis Public School Lab School Wellness Evaluations
- Rural hospital experiences–Johnson Memorial Hospital
- Service outreach activities to assist underserved areas of our community
- Working with an interpreter
- College and community health screening fair providing education and screenings
Demographics of Patients Seen by Students on Clinical Rotations
The patient populations seen by our students while on clinical rotations are reflective of, and consistent with, the Indiana residents we serve. Our students learn from and evaluate patients of all genders, ages and ethnicities.
Ratings on Exit Surveys Regarding Sensitivity to Diversity
On PA Exit Surveys administered to students one month prior to Program completion, students from the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021 rated their level of agreement to how well the Program met the terminal student learning outcome, “Help our students develop a sensitivity that will allow them to effectively work with patients who are different than they” as 4.3, 4.7, and 4.5, respectively. The rating scale for this item ranged from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. The Program benchmark is an average rating of 3.0 or higher.
On PA Exit Surveys administered to students one month prior to Program completion, students from the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021 rated their level of agreement with the statement, “The PA Program fostered an awareness and understanding of other cultures and beliefs,” as 4.0, 4.7, and 4.5, respectively. The rating scale for this item ranged from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. The Program benchmark is an average rating of 3.0 or higher.
Accreditation Program List
The Butler University PA Program is the longest accredited PA program in the state of Indiana as demonstrated on the Accredited PA Programs list published by ARC-PA.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Butler University PA Program sponsored by Butler University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains in effect until the Program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the Program by the ARC-PA will be March 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.
How Student Professionalism is Evaluated
The faculty members of the PA Program recognize their responsibility to present candidates for the PA degree who have the knowledge and skills to function in a wide variety of clinical situations and render a broad spectrum of patient care, including expected professionalism.
In all interactions, both face-to-face and electronically, students are required to exhibit professional behavior towards other students, Butler University administration, faculty/staff, patients, and clinical preceptors. Professionalism is a required component of each course in the curriculum. During their orientation session, students are advised of the Program’s expectations of professionalism. Furthermore, every student is evaluated for professional behavior throughout the PA Program.
On preceptor evaluations, preceptors rated their level of agreement with the statement, “The student demonstrated an appropriate level of professionalism in all areas including, but not necessarily limited to, dress, demeanor, and punctuality,” as 4.9 for the past 3 graduating cohorts (using a Likert rating scale where 1 = strongly disagree to 5.0 = strongly agree). Our Program benchmark is an average rating of 3.0 or higher.
The following are average student ratings from the PA Classes of 2019 through 2021 regarding their extent of agreement with professionalism-related statements on the PA Exit Survey. Ratings are based upon a Likert scale where 1 = strongly disagree to 5.0 = strongly agree, using a Program benchmark of 3.0 or higher:
- PA Faculty members served as good role models for professionalism: 4.5 (Class of 2019), 4.8 (Class of 2020), 4.7 (Class of 2021)
- Clinical preceptors served as good role models for professionalism: 4.5 (Class of 2019), 4.8 (Class of 2020), 4.4 (Class of 2021)
- The PA Program fostered professional behavior: 4.3 (Class of 2019), 4.9 (Class of 2020), 4.8 (Class of 2021)
- The PA Program fostered development of professional relationships: 4.5 (Class of 2019), 4.8 (Class of 2020), 4.8 (Class of 2021)
Ways in which Professionalism is Encouraged during PA Training
Participation in white coat ceremony
This annual celebration recognizes students’ entry into the professional phase of the PA Program. Students and their families attend this ceremony during which students receive their first white coat, which has been donated by alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college.
Ethical conduct is one of the most important attributes of a competent health care professional. Students are accountable for their own professional behavior. They are also charged with reporting to the Program any unprofessional behavior or infractions of this honor code on the part of others. All students sign an Honor Code indicating they agree to uphold professional behavior.
The PA Class Oath was initiated in 2013 to make a real impact on the meaning of the MPAS degree and on the role the physician assistant students play. While other PA programs and professions have certain guiding oaths/principles/pledges that are administered at graduation or after passing certain professional examinations, the PA students who design the Class Oath believe the purpose is to set a new standard of Professionalism while being a student.
Once completed, students who sign the PA Class Oath join a group of like-minded students who believe in a greater purpose that your training will provide.
The Oath is established to be a voluntary pledge that students opt to sign. The Butler PA Program believes that the Oath will have more meaning if the participation is self-driven by those who have considered thoughtfully the tenets of the Oath. The Oath is to raise the bar on what the PA degree means and what the profession should hold itself accountable to.
How Students and Faculty Promote Leadership, Service, and Professionalism
- Annually, two students serve on the Indiana Academy of Physician Assistant Board of Directors.
- Seventeen students have published in peer reviewed national journals
- 5 students have presented scholarly findings at national meetings
- Dozens of students have lobbied at the state capital and seven students have lobbied in our Nation’s capital to advance PA legislation.
- These were all done while attending Butler University PA Program!
- Director at Large, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) (2019-2021)
- President, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) (2012)
- Vice President, IAPA (2011)
- Director at Large, IAPA (2009, 2010)
- Continuing Medical Education Co-Chair, IAPA (2007, 2008)
- Continuing Medical Education Chair, IAPA (2005, 2006)
- Vice President, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) (2015, 2016)
- Indiana Area Health Education Centers Board Member (Aug. 2014-present)
- Director at Large, IAPA (2003, 2004)
- Continuing Medical Education Chair, IAPA (2002, 2004, 2009, 2010)
- President, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) (2017)
- Member of Continuing Medical Education Committee for Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) (2014, 2015, 2016)
- Member of Legislative Committee for IAPA (2014, 2015)
- Director at Large, IAPA (2014, 2015)
- Membership Committee Chair, IAPA (2014, 2015)
- Treasurer, IAPA (2015–2016)
- Exam Development Board, Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)
- Past President, Board of Directors, Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) (2017)
- Standing Rules Committee, American Academy of PAs (AAPA)
- President (IAPA) (2001-2002)
- Numerous Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants, AAPA, Physician Assistant Foundation (PAF), and PAEA National Committees
- Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of PAs
- House of Delegates, American Academy of PAs (AAPA) (2018)
- Continuing Medical Education Chair, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (2014, 2015, 2016)
- Board Member, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) (2017)
- Scholarship & Awards Committee Co-Chair, Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA)
- Membership Committee, Member, IAPA
Indiana Academy Physician Assistants
Sarah (Soltis) Polacek
Directors at Large:
Jennifer Guthrie, CME, Chair
Kathy Buchanan, CME, Chair
James Williams, Public Health, Chair
Jason Kolkmeier, CME, Chair
Sophie Mouser, Membership, Chair
Kim Swigert, Membership Member
Venessa Beard, CME, Member
Matt Stinson, Legislative, Member
Delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates:
Genesis Cup 2015 Healthcare Innovation
Students will be formatively and summatively evaluated for these competencies. These evaluations will occur throughout the didactic phase, on each rotation, and with the final summative exam.
- Efficiently and effectively elicit pertinent information in a medical history and perform an appropriate physical exam for patients across the lifespan.
- Appropriately order and analyze results of clinical and diagnostic tests.
- Integrate data obtained through history, physical examination and laboratory investigation and develop a differential and final diagnosis.
- Appropriately select and correctly perform medical procedures.
- Given a diagnosis (and other pertinent patient information), design an appropriate pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic management strategy.
- Develop medical records and oral presentations that are clear, concise and complete.
- Demonstrate the professionalism consistent with a health care provider.
- Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and health professionals.