1 De Montfort University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (SPAIN)
3 Universidad San Pablo CEU, Facultad de Farmacia (SPAIN)
4 Departamento de Investigación Agroambiental. IMIDRA (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 3495-3499
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.0783
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The UK Department of Health (DoH), the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners have stablished the Competence and Curriculum Framework for the postgraduate programme of Physician Associate (PA), which aims to train future healthcare professionals that will perform in similar roles to medically-trained personnel, but without authority to prescribe. Thus, the DoH specifies that future PAs should have the following competences for diagnosing and managing different parasitic infections, which are described by different categories: 1A) is able to diagnose and manage, without referral, threadworms (Enterobius vermicularis) and hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus); 1B) is able to identify and take measures to avoid immediate deterioration of amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica) and malaria (Plasmodium spp.); and 2B) is able to undertake the day-to-day management of the patient when diagnoses has been made for toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii).

The DMU e-Parasitology® team has started to create specific content for aiding PA programmes with medical parasitology education, content that is available on the De Montfort University (DMU, UK) website here: In addition, we have collected comprehensive feedback and impressions of these resources from PA students enrolled in the module “Community Health” in 2017/18 (when DMU launched the MSc Physician Associate Studies) and in 2018/19. Our team has previously discussed the feedback collected from the first cohort in Peña-Fernández et al. (2018). Briefly, all PA students that voluntarily completed questionnaire indicated that they gained appropriate knowledge of the pathology, prevention and treatment of malaria and amebiasis (25% agreed, 75% strongly agreed) by using the DMU e-Parasitology® package. Similar impressions were collected in the second cohort of PA students at DMU in 2018/29: all participants highlighted that they learnt about pathology, prevention and treatment of the parasitic diseases studied, and acquired the necessary skills to diagnose and investigate their infections on humans. Eighty percent of participants indicated that the website enhanced their interest in the study of medical parasitology and the acquired parasitology knowledge will help them in their future careers. Finally, 60% (40% neither agree nor disagree) recommended a more comprehensive study of parasitology in the PA programme. Following this feedback, we have created a theoretical module on Enterobius vermicularis and a series of rapid mini case studies that will be available on the virtual case studies module here: These novel mini medical case studies, which have different degrees of difficulty, will help PA students to acquire and cement the parasitology diagnoses and management competences described by the DoH for this healthcare programme, including reflection and critical thinking skills.
Physician associate, virtual clinical case studies, medical parasitology, DMU e-Parasitology®.