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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Ready for the Front Line

When University of Dayton physician assistant students step out of the classroom and into clinical rotations, they must be prepared. Donors during UD’s annual giving day — One Day, One Dayton — are helping.

“We have a lot of students who go into fields like emergency medicine,” said Lindsey Hammett, program director and chair of UD’s Master of Physician Assistant Practice program. “They are going to be our front-line providers when they graduate.”

How does UD ensure PA students are ready? Hammett gives great credit to the program’s use of high-fidelity mannequins. “They are basically advanced simulators that we use as patients for our students. It allows us to train for emergency situations,” she said. “We can simulate irregular heart rates, a heart attack, lung problems or any number of things that we can’t simulate with a person. They can also practice procedures, such as inserting chest tubes and starting arterial lines.”

Program graduate Alexis Kinch ’19 currently practices emergency medicine as a certified physician assistant in Dayton and agrees with Hammett. “The simulations were vital in putting together, in real time, the skills and knowledge I learned,” Kinch said. “It is a resource that I believe all students should be able to experience and learn from prior to clinical rotations.”

Unlike many other PA programs, UD uses the mannequins from the start of student instruction — and this brings results. “Doctors and physician assistants in the community have said for a long time that our students come out much more prepared than other PA students,” said Hammett. “They’ll even say that our PA students are a level above where medical residents are.”

Hammett and the other PA instructors are determined to maintain this level of training — but new mannequins are required to do so.

“Typically with these mannequins, their replacement interval is about five to seven years. The software is eventually no longer supported — and that limits what we can do,” Hammett said. “We have two mannequins, which we acquired in 2013 or 2014, so it’s time.”

The replacement cost is hefty — over $100,000 per mannequin — but, thanks to UD donors, the new mannequins are on the way. One Day, One Dayton gifts to the UD Fund have been allocated to the PA program to help with the cost.

“Our goal is to continue to have students truly prepared on their first day of clinical rotations,” said Hammett. “We can’t do that with outdated technology, so we are immensely grateful for this support.”

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