Prior to matriculation, physician assistant students often need to be certified in Basic Life Support. However, it is unknown whether they are aware of and can place a victim in one specific life-saving method, the recovery position. This study evaluated physician assistant students’ ability to place a human victim in the recovery position.


Students enrolled in the physician assistant program (MSBS-PA) at a midwestern university, entered a simulated, multi-victim scene where they encountered a live victim with a head wound and difficulty breathing, laying supine on the ground, and had to provide care they felt necessary to save their life. The students were randomly selected from the university physician assistant program.


Just 38.4% (10/26) of students successfully placed the victim in the recovery. While some stated awareness of the recovery position, the majority stated that they had never received training nor had to demonstrate competency.


The findings support the need to provide recovery position training to physician assistant students so they may better respond to a multi-victim incident.

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