Failed the PANRE – An epidemic among senior PAs- But Why?
Physician assistants have always had to take the PANRE. We have always had to stay up to date in medicine. We earn our continuing medicine credits, attend seminars and read articles and we re-take our PANRE. It’s what we have always done. But, the rules have changed and because of it, many have failed the PANRE, and we are losing our most valuable PAs in the world. Why?
Why is there a mass death of our founding physician assistants? The recertification process has changed and it’s killing our veterans. It used to be that those PAs that wanted to take the PANRE in traditional style could. But, there was the notorious “pathway 2.” This was an incredibly difficult take home open book test. From what I hear the cardiologists couldn’t answer the cardiology questions, that is how difficult they were. But, it served its purpose. It got people studying, and you hardly ever heard of anyone that failed the PANRE.
So, we have our veteran PAs that have always taken the pathway 2 re-certification. We have ortho PA, derm PA, psych PA that have been in practice for 30 years and have not taken a standardized test in 30 years! And, they can’t pass this PANRE!
I get five emails per week from these very veterans saying, “I failed the PANRE, If I fail again I am going to have to retire.” This is a travesty. An absolute travesty. Our veterans are being forced out of their careers, their livelihood.
These are the same PAs that paved the way for my generation. I have a lengthy conversation with an official from the NCCPA. I asked him this very question, “how is the ortho PA of 30 years who hasn’t taken a test in 30 years going to pass the PANRE?” His answer was that PAs were designed to be primary care providers and the NCCPA is holding true to that mission.
My contention is that we now have so many specialty PAs that this model isn’t realistic. The answer he gave me was that they would need to find a tutor and get educated. Our profession is getting weaker because of this. We are losing those veteran PAs that a lot of us did rotations with. We are losing our most valuable asset – experience.
Being a PA isn’t about the degree (BS, MS or PHD.) It’s about face to face patient care. Nothing is more valuable then experience, and if we lose someone because they failed the PANRE, we lose the most important part of our profession, the experienced provider.
If you failed the PANRE,are a veteran or a struggling PA and are in need of assistance in passing your boards we have solutions.