A novel curriculum to train physician assistant students how to write effective discharge summaries.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background: Physician assistants (PAs) are an integral part of inpatient care teams, but many PAs do not receive formal education on authoring discharge summaries. High-quality discharge summaries can mitigate patient risk during transitions of care by improving inter-provider communication. Objective: To understand the current state of discharge summary education at our institution, and describe a novel curriculum to teach PA students to write effective discharge summaries. Design: Students completed a pre-survey to assess both knowledge and comfort levels regarding discharge summaries. They wrote a discharge summary and received feedback from two evaluators, an inpatient provider (IPP) familiar with the described patient and a simulated primary care provider (PCP). Students completed a post-survey reassessing knowledge and comfort. Results: Prior to instituting this curriculum, the majority of students (92.9%) reported rarely or never receiving feedback on discharge summaries. Eighty-four of 88 (95.5%) eligible students participated. There was discordance between IPP and simulated PCP feedback on their assessment of the quality of discharge summaries; simulated PCPs gave significantly lower global quality ratings (7.9 versus 8.5 out of 10, p = 0.006). Key elements were missing from >10% of discharge summaries. Student response was favorable. Conclusion: Clinically relevant deficiencies were common in students' discharge summaries, highlighting the need for earlier, structured training. IPPs and simulated PCPs gave discordant feedback, emphasizing differing needs of different providers during transitions of care. This novel curriculum improved students' knowledge and confidence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zietlow, KE; Gillum, M; Hale, SL; Stouder, A; Blazar, M; Hudak, NM; Ming, D

Published Date

  • December 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1648944 -

PubMed ID

  • 31370754

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6711136

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1087-2981

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/10872981.2019.1648944


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States