Novice Physician Assistant Transfer of Learning During the Transition to Clinical Practice: a Mixed Interpretive Study
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This dissertation explored the experiences and perceptions of novice physician assistants (PAs) in Texas. The purpose of this sequential mixed interpretive study was to describe transfer of learning in novice PAs as they transition from formal training into clinical practice. Transfer of learning models and adult experiential learning theories guided the investigation. The mixed study design combined a naturalistic multicase study with Q methodology. In Phase 1, I obtained data from 10 novice PAs using semistructured interviews and observation. In Phase 2, I obtained data from 15 additional novice PAs by having them sort 45 statements derived from the Phase 1 interviews. Each participant group contained PAs working in primary care and specialty practice across a variety of settings. I conducted a thematic analysis of the Phase 1 qualitative data and a by-person factor analysis of the Phase 2 sorted data. Seven main themes emerged in Phase 1: (a) direct transfer, (b), transfer failure, (c) indirect transfer, (d) individual transfer facilitators, (e) work environmental transfer facilitators, (f) individual transfer inhibitors, and (g) work environmental transfer inhibitors. In addition, three factors (i.e. shared social perspectives) emerged in Phase 2: (1) transfer partnership, (2) self-reliant, and (3) insecure. The study revealed important similarities and differences in transfer of learning among novice PAs during the transition to practice. PA educators, supervising physicians, and clinic administrators may use these findings in practice and policy- making. This study is of value to researchers interested in mixed interpretive study design using Q methodology or those wishing to explore transfer of learning in clinical settings.
Transfer of Learning
Forister, James G (2015). Novice Physician Assistant Transfer of Learning During the Transition to Clinical Practice: a Mixed Interpretive Study. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from