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PA posts 100 percent PANCE pass rate

By Luanne Williams

“Our first goal is to graduate outstanding clinicians. To have the benefit of a 100 percent pass rate and quickly get those clinicians into the workforce is icing on the cake,” Dr. David Weil, director of Physician Assistant Studies at Wingate University, said last year when every graduate passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) on the first try. This week, he got another layer of icing as all 53 members of the PA class of 2021 followed suit.

It was the third time in five years that the program posted a 100 percent pass rate, bringing its five-year average to 99 percent and marking the eighth year that Wingate’s program has met or exceeded the national average, which is 93 percent this year.

David Weil

“While numbers are important, we are ultimately proud that Wingate University has added 53 educated, productive and ethical PAs to the workforce to best serve the healthcare needs of the communities in which they work,” Weil said of graduates who crossed the commencement stage in December. Since 2010, the program has prepared 477 PAs for the frontlines of healthcare.

He said faculty members in Wingate’s William and Loretta Harris Department of Physician Assistant Studies give students the personal attention and instruction they need in order to excel in the areas of medical knowledge, interpersonal skills, clinical and technical skills, clinical reasoning and problem solving, and professional behaviors.

And although they don’t teach to the test, professors do equip students with a weeklong PANCE prep course that has been approved by the American Academy of Physician Assistants as a source of continuing medical education (CME) credits for PAs.

Taylor Fischer, assistant PA professor, says the review week – an online minicourse – includes faculty and outside experts. The University offers the course lectures, which count for 34.5 CME credit-hours, free to PAs who serve as preceptors (clinicians who supervise second-year students during their 12 months of clinical rotations).

“Our students must have that hands-on experience, so we truly appreciate our preceptors,” Weil said.

Physician assistant remains a top occupation, according to U.S. News & World Report, ranking No. 3 on the 2022 100 Best Jobs list and No. 2 on the list of Best Healthcare Jobs.

Learn more about the Physician Assistant program, which has locations in Wingate and Hendersonville.

Feb. 11, 2022