University of Findlay’s (UF) Physician Assistant (PA) Program has moved into a newly renovated lab space located in the UF Village on Frazer Street. The program’s new space includes a patient assessment lab, a skills lab, a scrub room, and a simulated operating room.
The newly renovated space provides valuable experiential learning opportunities to students and prepares them for interdisciplinary collaboration. While they would get the experience of being in an operating room during their clinical rotations, the addition of the simulated operating room will prepare students and allow them to feel more comfortable going into those clinical rotations, PA Department Chair Richard Hopkins said. Since the nursing labs are also located right next door in the UF Village, the new PA labs will encourage collaboration between the programs, Richard States, DHSC, dean of the College of Health Professions, said. Students’ lab activities can operate very similarly to how they operate in a fully functioning hospital, where different health professions intersect and work together.
Having the labs in one location will also allow the program to streamline the supply budget. When the PA labs were on two different floors in the Brewer Center for Health Sciences (BCHS) building, they had to purchase double the amount of supplies, Hopkins said.
While UF was cost efficient in repurposing an existing space, the project still needed funding. With the help of University Advancement (Dr. Marcia Sloan Latta and Ms. Karen George) and several generous donors, the project was completed in January 2020. Dr. Paul and Mrs. Jane Davis donated a large portion of the project funds. The donations from the H. Fort Flowers Foundation were utilized to purchase lab furnishings. Mr. Don and Mrs. Judy Miller from the Roppe Corporation donated the lab’s floor coverings. Centurion Service Group, Mr. David Ganim and Ms. Alicia Adams, provided equipment and a scrub sink. Mr. John R. and Mrs. Barbara F. Murray, who previously donated to the PA Program labs, as well as the previous donors listed, will be featured on plaques directly outside of the labs.
In 2019, the PA Program applied to increase its cohort size from 18 to 24 students by 2022. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) responded to the application by requiring the program to develop a larger lab space to accommodate the increase in students. The original lab had nine stations with the capability of having only 18 students in a class.
Since there was no way to expand the existing lab spaces, Dean States scouted out existing spaces on Findlay’s campus that could be used more efficiently. In his search, he discovered the former kitchen space located in the Village. Adapting already existing space allows the University to save on costs because it does not need to build new, States said.
States presented the proposal to renovate the space to the Division of Business Affairs in early 2019 and that summer Clouse Construction began the renovation.
Director of the Physical Plant Orion Jones said the efficiency of adapting to the needs of the University is imperative to its long-term success as an institution. “By adapting to the needs of a growing program and utilizing already-existing spaces in a new way, the University can evolve with the job market and changing student body,” he said.
After the renovations, the new PA lab has 15 stations with the ability to accommodate 30 students per class, nearly doubling the student capacity. Now that the lab space is larger, the PA Program is anticipating accepting 20 students in Fall 2020, 22 students in Fall 2021, and 24 students in Fall 2022.
Relocating the PA labs also created available space for other classes and programs to use existing spaces more efficiently. While the simulated operating room is a completely new addition, the two labs were previously located in BCHS rooms 217 and 07. BCHS 07 will be used as a PA classroom, moving a classroom out of the basement of Myers Hall. BCHS 217 has been converted to a Physical Agent Modality and Splinting Lab for the Occupational Therapy Department.
For more information about the Master of Physician Assistant Program, visit https://www.findlay.edu/health-professions/physician-assistant-ma/.