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New Research Article: An Evaluation of the Postgraduate Physician Assistant/Associate and Nurse Practitioner Orthopedic Surgery Fellowship and Residency Websites in the United States

An Evaluation of the Postgraduate Physician Assistant/Associate and Nurse Practitioner Orthopedic Surgery Fellowship and Residency Websites in the United States.

Vasco Deon Kidd
Abstract Background: Although considerable research on physician fellowship training program websites has demonstrated critical deficiencies in accessibility and content, there is no published study regarding the website content of physician assistant/associate (PA) and nurse practitioner (NP) orthopedic surgery postgraduate residency/fellowship programs in the United States. Therefore, this study aims to conduct a web-based content analysis to assess the available information on program websites and identify the potential areas for improvement.
Method: The methodology for this study was replicated from prior research on graduate medical education (GME) websites. Twenty-two PA and joint PA/NP orthopedic surgery postgraduate residency/fellowship training program websites were assessed between August and September 2022. The criteria comprised 17 items related to postgraduate education and recruitment content. All program websites were evaluated for pertinent content relevant to prospective applicants applying to orthopedic surgery residency/fellowship programs. Descriptive statistics were performed.
Results: Out of the 22 PA and joint PA/NP orthopedic postgraduate websites evaluated, all had a functional website link. Only one orthopedic surgery postgraduate website met all 17 criteria. All program websites assessed contained program descriptions and contact information. Other information present on websites included program admission requirements 95% (21/22), salary/benefits 77% (17/22), interview requirement 73% (16/22), faculty listing 68% (15/22), journal club 59% (13/22), program objectives/goals 59% (13/22), and acceptance process 54% (12/22). Less than half of the program websites contained the following information: listing of current PA/NP postgraduate trainees, sample rotation schedule, orientation activities, curriculum, wellness/well-being strategy, graduation and research requirements, and link to program handbook. However, accredited PA orthopedic surgery program websites contained more content relevant to prospective applicants than non-accredited programs.
Conclusion: Website recruitment and education content appear uneven across orthopedic surgery postgraduate programs. Given the variation in the online program information, there is an urgent need to optimize the program website content for prospective PA and NP orthopedic surgery applicants. Future research is needed to identify whether specific website content influences the decision of PA and NP applicants to apply to a postgraduate program. Moreover, whether prospective applicants search for residency/fellowship program information from online resources offered by APPAP or APGAP is an area of emerging interest. Also, an investigation into the quality, usability, and accessibility of PA and NP postgraduate residency/fellowship website content across all specialties is warranted.
Keywords: Evaluation, Unconscious bias, Transition to practice, Postgraduate education, Fellowship, Residency, Physician assistant, Physician associate, Nurse practitioner, Advanced practice provider