Eponym Hell: Studying for the Boards
Posted by Ellen D. MandelComment
Musings-Blog-HeaderThis article appears on the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ blog, Musings.


It is that time of the 5−6-year period (on the old system), when my mind ponders the necessity of re-certifying, as in taking the PANRE. In addition to the expected feeling of dread, I am also challenged with confronting all that I do not remember (orthopaedics); ever recall learning (infectious disease); understand some aspects of (neurology) and dislike topic-wise (no comment). However, for everything else, things are fine.


My PANRE quest began with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) website, where I reaffirmed my limits of stats knowledge. The NCCPA website details and then summarizes the scoring: “This [PANRE] calculation is based on the Rasch model and equates the scores, compensating for minor differences in difficulty across different versions of the exam. Thus, in the end, all proficiency measures are calculated as if everyone took the same exam.”1 Thus started my venture into Eponym Hell.


I do the usual lamenting and kvetching (Seinfeld knows: Yiddish for whining) to anyone who will listen.  Several of my coworkers, and of course, my fellow A program graduate buddies are on the same re-certification cycle, and we compare preparation notes. Here is a smattering of their responses/approaches:


• “Did you already book your exam? Am I too late?”


• “I haven’t finished all my NCCPA CME credits! Do I need to before I can book my exam?”


• “No big deal, I only have to review ECGs and murmurs, and I will do fine.”


• “I only care if I pass, and I can do that without studying. I gave up on high scores.”


• “I don’t plan on taking a review course.  Are you taking one? OMG, I should take a review course. Which one do you take?”


• “You (meaning me) are too OCD.  You can pass with your eyes closed.” I replied, “Is OCD egosyntonic or egodystonic?” (This resulted in a nasty look. But I made her think.)


• “I have no time to think about it now.”




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