I was delighted to read an article in today's New York Times by Tamar Lewin stating that Yale Medical School was denied an online program for physician assistant master's degrees. It is hard to believe that such an outstanding medical school would even consider such a thing. How can you possibly teach someone how to work in a medical office, clinic or hospital by sitting at a computer? I realize that most medical students no longer get the wonderful clinical teaching we had at Stanford Medical School when it was in San Francisco. When Stanford Medical School moved to Palo Alto their research programs were excellent, but I cannot say the same about their clinical teaching. That has sadly left a lot to be desired.
I realize that charter schools, colleges and other facilities are using a lot of online teaching, but caring for human beings is far different from learning about math, science or other academic subjects. The article goes on to state that there are two hundred physician asistant programs in the U.S. that are not online. There are unfortunately nursing programs online including at USC and Georgetown. I am amazed that such good universities would even consider such programs. I would never hire a nurse or physician assistant who had a degree from an online program. Our U.S. medical care seems to be getting worse and worse. My British and French friends tell me that nurse practititoners and physician assistants are not used in their countries, as far as they know. I have worked in British hospitals and know the excellence of their medical staffs and teaching programs. Yes, we need more doctors to care for all the new enrollees under the Affordable Health Care Act, but online is not the way to teach medical care.