Ongoing Webinar Series: Finding Solutions to Common ARC-PA Citations

scott's thoughts Sep 03, 2023

This is the second blog related to our ongoing webinar series regarding Solutions to the Top 10 ARC-PA solutions. As a consultant and PA educator for 31 years, my goal for these communications is to help existing PA programs become more aware of some of the requirements that have been put in place. This is not a criticism of ARC-PA, nor can I speak for ARC-PA.

The accreditation standards released by ARC-PA are both static and organic in nature. The interpretation of what the standards represent cannot necessarily be inferred from the written word. During each commission meeting, changes take place that result in revisions and nuanced differences in interpretation. In my opinion, the biggest challenge is meeting the C standards from both an expertise and a manpower perspective. The changes in expectations regarding the drafting of the self-study report have resulted in a steep increase in citations. This is affecting provisional pathway programs and long-standing programs. This is...

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Upcoming Dr. Scott Massey Webinar: The most common ARC-PA citations

scott's thoughts Aug 29, 2023

As a full-time consultant for PA schools and their administrators, I work with my clients daily to ensure that their program complies with ARC-PA standards and receives a positive Commission action following a site visit. My ability to see trends over time gives me insight into best preparing my clients for these visits and any necessary remedies. 

At Dr. Scott Massey , we are preparing a new free webinar series in which I will explore each of the top ten citations that PA programs receive, providing mitigating strategies to demonstrate compliance to the Standards more effectively. 

Most common citations

I would be remiss if I didn't express concerns about the increased number of programs that have received probation. Forty-four programs have been reviewed by the ARC-PA in 2023, eleven of which programs (25%) received Accreditation-Probation status. Perhaps this provides a glimpse into ARC-PA’s expectations regarding demonstrating...

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Requesting Expansion to a Distant Campus

scott's thoughts Aug 22, 2023

Today we cover an exciting topic: expanding your PA program. There may come a time when your successful PA program needs room for more students, faculty, outreach, and opportunities. Naturally, you must comply with ARC-PA standards. The ARC-PA Accreditation Manual (2023) defines a Distant Campus as “a campus geographically separate from the main program at which didactic, preclinical, or clinical instruction occurs for all or some of the students matriculated to that campus.” 

You must obtain ARC-PA approval at least six months prior to the matriculation of students at new locations and facilities. For an expansion to take place, your program must do the following:

  • maintain five consecutive years of accreditation-continued, without an adverse action at the time of submission.
  • have outcomes from the first cohort of students at any distant campus before applying to expand to another (note that programs cannot expand to more than one location at a time).
  • contact...
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Stress Management 5 Teaching Cognitive Stress Management Techniques

scott's thoughts Aug 15, 2023

Today we reach the end of another newsletter series. We have spent the last four newsletters talking about the stress of graduate medical students. For this final installment, I will share the cognitive techniques we give to students during the second recommended workshop. 

Cognitive techniques for stress reduction

These techniques come from cognitive behavior therapy, which hypothesizes that people’s emotions, behaviors, and physiology are influenced by their perception of events. It is not the situation that determines what people feel but how they perceive it.

The cognitive model goes this way: 

A SITUATION leads to a THOUGHT which leads to a REACTION (emotional, behavioral, physical).

Here is an example:

Situation: Get a “C” on an exam

Thought: “I’m stupid, and I’ll never make it in grad school.”

Reaction: Sadness, helplessness, ashamed to ask for help

But let’s look at it another way:

Situation: Get a “C” on...

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Stress Management 4 Helping the Stressed-Out Student

scott's thoughts Aug 08, 2023

Welcome back. We have been focusing our newsletters on stress in graduate medical students and how to assist your cohorts with developing self-care behaviors that will improve their mental and physical health through the rigors of the programs. In today’s newsletter, I’ll begin sharing the lessons and techniques we teach students to accomplish this goal.

The first one-hour workshop I recommend is held during Week 5 of the semester and teaches students how to develop a self-care plan. These pointers will be as helpful for faculty and administration as for students!

Developing a Self-Care Plan

When did you last do something enjoyable because it felt great? 

Self-care activities are:

  • Done deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health
  • Actively initiating a method to promote holistic wellbeing

It works best if you practice both:

  1. Self-awareness: the ongoing observation and attunement to your experience, including risk factors and warning signs...
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Stress Management 3 Self-Care Versus Workaholic Culture

scott's thoughts Aug 01, 2023

Thank you for joining me again for the Massey Martin Newsletter. We’re continuing our series on stress and the medical graduate student. In our last edition, I discussed some of the science behind stress management which illustrates why we benefit from providing our students with stress management support and techniques. 

What do I mean by “providing” this information? The stress-management culture is a paradigm that springs from the ground up. Self-care should be embedded in the program’s paradigm:

My recommendations are that PA programs:

  1. Develop a culture of self-care (including faculty/staff encouraged to model self-care practices).
  2. Educate students on the value of self-care.
  3. Facilitate students’ developing self-care plans. I recommend a one-hour workshop on developing a self-care plan held during week 5 of the semester.
  4. Provide training on different self-care methods. A one-hour workshop during Week 9 includes opportunities to learn and...
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Stress Management 2 The Science Behind Stressed-Out Students

scott's thoughts Jul 25, 2023

Last week, I opened a new newsletter series about stress in graduate medical students and referenced an article I wrote with Dr. Rizzolo about this subject. Today I’d like to share some of the aspects and outcomes of our study to show our foundations for developing stress-management programs for students.  

Parameters of our study

Our study examined fluctuating stress levels in health science students during their first year of graduate school. We reviewed four programs: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, and Physician Assistant.  We used the BSI (Brief Symptom Inventory), with our subjects completing the test three times:

Time 1: During the first week of graduate school

Time 2: During the last two weeks of Semester 1

Time 3: Mid-semester during Semester 2

The BSI subscales included anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive, phobia, and somatization (expressing psychological or emotional symptoms as physical symptoms,...

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Stress Management 1 Stress in the Medical Graduate Student

scott's thoughts Jul 18, 2023

Welcome back! We just finished a series on the pervasive nature of imposter syndrome in students in our cohorts. Now, I’d like to broaden the subject to the problem of stress. I will share some research I have conducted on the subject, then present the stress-management techniques we share with students during a series of presentations.

Throughout this newsletter series, I refer to facts and data supported by a study in which I participated. The publication reference is as follows:

Rizzolo, D. & Massey, S. (2020) “Fluctuations in Stress Over Time During the First Year of Health Science Programs.”  (2020) Journal of Allied Health. Vol 49. No. 2. 

Why talk about stress?

I realize that saying medical graduate students experience increasing stress levels throughout their semesters seems blatantly obvious. Was there ever any doubt that higher education comes with its share of stressors?

Stress is a natural and useful human response to any demanding...

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PA School and Imposter Syndrome Vol. 5 Imposter syndrome summary and conclusion

scott's thoughts Jul 11, 2023

Welcome to the final newsletter in my series on imposter syndrome. I hope that this series has shone a light on some of the lesser-known aspects of this prominent problem, as well as providing ideas on how to deal with both the external and internal aspects of imposterism that may affect PA students.

I’d like to finish the series by making three important distinctions that we should make in considering the syndrome.

When we wish to help someone who has imposter syndrome (or give ourselves a little guidance when the feeling sneaks up on us), we should remember the following: 

Imposter syndrome is common, but not dismissible

We can acknowledge that imposter syndrome is a common feeling. Many people will experience it at some point, and many of us recover from it ourselves without any outside help, or at least manage to function well despite any occasional doubts that we truly belong. 

However, this does not mean imposter syndrome should be discounted as...

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PA School and Imposter Syndrome Vol. 4 Remedies for Internal Imposter Syndrome

scott's thoughts Jul 04, 2023

Imposter syndrome in graduate medical education is extremely common. We have a cross-section of the population in our cohorts that is already predisposed to it: perfectionists, high-achievers, and a course of study that takes on responsibility for human lives. Faculty and professors are hardly less likely to deal with the condition, because of factors like intense scrutiny of their performance, responsibility for student education, heavy workloads, and bureaucratic red tape that they navigate in their jobs.

In our last newsletter, I discussed the ways in which we may inadvertently exacerbate imposter syndrome in underrepresented populations with external factors. Today, let’s follow up with remedies for the internal aspects of imposter syndrome. These tips can help anyone who is suffering imposterism, but I’ll only reiterate that if a student is marginalized, fixing their “internal” viewpoint may improve their mood or strengthen their resolve, but it will not...

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