Physician Assistants at a course prior to COVID-19 restrictions. Today, the Johnson & Johnson Institute is providing extensive on-line learning opportunities to the PA community.
COVID-19 has caused significant disruption across the healthcare industry, and as a result, the role of physician assistants (PAs) in maintaining the patient care continuum has become more vital than ever before. New safety procedures and methods of providing efficient care for patients during the pandemic have been challenging for systems to implement, and PAs have taken on more responsibility in the operating room (OR), not only to ensure optimal patient care, but also to help their OR care teams effectively perform complex procedures as the industry continues to transform
The value that PAs add to the OR in today’s COVID-impacted environment is evident, yet educational materials and programming focused on helping them hone the skills they need is often challenging to find, specifically around wound closure education. For all these reasons and more, the Johnson & Johnson Institute, in partnership with Ethicon, has developed a robust PA educational program – a comprehensive wound closure education program that is focused on arming PAs with meaningful knowledge, training, and skills to provide better patient outcomes.
“Within Ethicon and the J&J Institute, we realized that PAs can be an underserved population as it relates to the training they receive,” said Rich Merklinger, Vice President, Global Education Solutions at Ethicon. “They are a group that has increasing responsibility, inside and outside of the operating room, yet we’ve heard from some that there are limited hands-on opportunities for them.”
The J&J Institute and Ethicon recognize the value that PAs can bring to the OR and have been actively engaging the PA community in the U.S. over the past several years through a variety of live and virtual programming. Recently, The Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery (PAOS) Society endorsed our educational offerings for PAs across the country, highlighting how we are providing best-in-class and industry-leading programs for PAs. The endorsement has expanded the reach of the programming, helping the J&J Institute and Ethicon reach countless PAs across many hospitals.
“To me, the work that we have done with PAOS and the partnership that we have together helps us bring new innovation and training to the PA audience,” said Merklinger. “It ultimately allows us all to serve the patient community in a much better way as we move forward.”
Through online courses, wound closure webinars, innovative Ortho Wound Closure Kits, hands-on virtual training, and personal video conferences between expert faculty and PAs, the exceptional programming provides immediate value to PAs in the field, the surgeons they support, and the patients they treat. The training, which is both designed and delivered by PAs, helps PAs be more efficient and effective in their practice.
“So often, as mid-levels, our educational opportunities are second-hand or tailored toward other providers,” said Jerry Buchert, PA-C. “Ethicon and the Johnson & Johnson Institute prioritize the entire surgical team and help to optimize our education and experience to provide optimal patient care.”
Over the last 18 months, more than 1,000 PAs have been trained through this programming, and over 100 wound closure kits have been shipped to PAs around the country. Additionally, 56 Ethicon Expert Exchange in Orthopaedics one-on-one course sessions have been completed, with more to come by the end of the year.
“Ethicon and the Johnson & Johnson Institute are the vanguard for PA education,” said Jana Flener, PA-C at Valley Medical Center, a division of the University of Washington. “During the pandemic, the companies refused to be limited, and pivoted quickly to provide nationwide communications, support and educational webinar opportunities. Thank you for recognizing the value of PAs.”
To learn more about the U.S. PA learning programs, check out the new section of our website dedicated to PA resources.
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