An Overview of the COVID Pandemic and Its Effect Upon Physician Assistant Students

Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Biomedical Biology (BTCHBS)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Timi Barone


Medical education aims to prepare competent healthcare providers capable of offering compassionate life-sustaining care to their patients. Although many knowledgeable providers are graduating from accredited institutions, few are equipped with the tools necessary to foster adequate communication skills, compassion, and resilience. The introduction of humanities and arts, which fosters these skills, into provider education is an emerging area of scholarship. In response, the Interdisciplinary Humanities and Arts in Physician Assistant Education (IHAPAE) project was formed. IHAPAE is an intercampus collaboration between an interdisciplinary set of faculty from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). The expertise of these scholars was used to create and introduce eight arts and humanities modules into Physician Assistant (PA) curriculum. These modules were unveiled to UNMC's first pandemic cohort, admitted in the Fall of 2020, and were assessed using a series of surveys and focus group interviews. Although preliminary results seem promising, they fail to consider the COVID pandemics' effect on students, course delivery, and subsequent response to evaluative materials. By subjecting their evaluatory materials to further examination, researchers found that students were disillusioned with Zoom and felt it prevented the formation of bonds and resulted in feelings of disconnection, isolation, and fewer opportunities to interact with faculty. The novel experiences of these students shed an interesting light on the pandemic and will assist in the development of a more versatile Physician Assistant (PA) curriculum moving forward.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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