The Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination, commonly known as the PANRE, is a comprehensive and challenging examination for men and women who hope to enter this exciting field of health care. The content of this exam is divided into the following seven task areas: history taking and performing physical examinations (16% of the exam), using laboratory and diagnostic studies (14%), formulating most likely diagnosis (18%), health maintenance (10%), clinical intervention (14%), pharmaceutical therapeutics (18%), and applying basic science concepts (10%).

In the section on history taking and performing physical examinations, you must demonstrate knowledge of pertinent historical information, risk factors, signs, and symptoms. The following skills are covered in this task area of the PANRE: conducting interviews, identifying historical information, performing physical examinations, associating current complaint with presented history, and identifying physical examination information. In the section on using laboratory and diagnostic studies, you must demonstrate knowledge of indications, cost-effectiveness, relevance of common screening tests, normal and abnormal diagnostic ranges, risks, and appropriate patient education. The skills covered in this section of the PANRE include using diagnostic equipment, selecting specimens, and interpreting study results. In the section on formulating the most likely diagnosis, the following subjects are covered: significance of history, physical findings, and diagnostic and laboratory studies as they relate to diagnosis.

The skills required for success in this section include correlating normal and abnormal diagnostic data, formulating differential diagnoses, and selecting the most likely diagnosis in light of presented data. In the health maintenance task area of the PANRE, the required knowledge includes epidemiology, early detection and prevention, relative value of common screening tests, appropriate patient education regarding preventable conditions or lifestyle modifications, and healthy lifestyles. The skills required for this section include using counseling and patient education techniques, communicating with patients, adapting health maintenance to the patient’s context, and using the informational database.

Finally, the clinical intervention task area of the PANRE requires knowledge of the management and treatment of selected medical conditions and indications, contraindications, complications, risks, benefits, and techniques. The skills required for this section include formulating and implementing treatment plans, recognizing and initiating treatment for life-threatening emergencies, demonstrating technical expertise related to performing specific procedures, communicating effectively, facilitating patient adherence and active participation in treatment, and interacting effectively in multidisciplinary teams. The PANRE was developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

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Last Updated: June 27, 2019