Obesity Treatment Education, Training Needed in PA Programs

Share this content:
Schools should prioritize the obesity epidemic and educate physician assistants on the implications of this condition and how PAs should be caring for these patients.
Schools should prioritize the obesity epidemic and educate physician assistants on the implications of this condition and how PAs should be caring for these patients.
The following article is part of The Clinical Advisor's coverage from the 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants' annual meeting in New Orleans. Our staff will be reporting live on original research, case studies, and professional outreach and advocacy news from leading PAs in many specialty areas. Check back for ongoing updates from AAPA 2018. 

NEW ORLEANS — Recognizing the obesity epidemic and educating physician assistants about the implications of this condition and how they should be caring for obese patients should be prioritized, according to research presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants' (AAPA) 2018 conference.

Nicolle Finn, PA-S, from King's College in Wilks-Barre, Pennsylvania, and J. Hook conducted a clinical trial study that included a pre- and postsurvey with 60 King's College clinical year PA students (85% female; mean age, 23 years). In the presurvey, students were evaluated on their knowledge of obesity and what role they play in treating the condition. A total of 40% strongly agree, 58.3% agree, 1.6% are neutral, and 0% disagree that they understand what obesity is and the mortality and morbidity related to this condition. A total of 13.3% strongly agree, 61.6% agree, 25% are neutral, and 0% disagree that they are aware of how to treat obesity. In addition, 26.6% strongly agree, 63.3% agree, 10% are neutral, and 0% disagree that they understand the role that the PA has in caring for obese patients.

After the lecture, the students completed a post-intervention survey to reassess their knowledge on obesity and the PA's role in treating patients. A total of 76.6% strongly agree, 23.3% agree, 0% are neutral, and 0% disagree that they understand what obesity is and the  mortality and morbidity related to this condition. Furthermore, 75% strongly agree, 23.3% agree, 1.60% are neutral, and 0% disagree that they are aware of how to treat obesity. In addition, 68.3% strongly agree, 31.6% agree, 0% are neutral, and 0% disagree that they understand the role the PA has in caring for obese patients.

Results show that after the power point lecture, students had an increased understanding of what obesity is and the mortality and morbidity related to this condition, how to treat obese patients, understanding of the role that the PA has in caring for obese patients, and awareness of available recourses to use to treat these patients.

“In conclusion,” stated the authors, “there needs to be a continuation of recognizing the obesity epidemic and educating physician assistants on the implications of this condition and how the PA should be caring for these patients.”

AAPA 2018 continues through Wednesday, May 23. Visit https://www.aapa.org/conference/ for more information.

Reference

Finn N, Hook J. The obesity epidemic: education and the role of the physician assistant. Presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2018 Conference; May 19-23, 2018; New Orleans. Poster 283.

You must be a registered member of Clinical Advisor to post a comment.