Physician Assistant Studies

Clinical Curriculum

After successful completion of the 15-month didactic phase of the program, students will progress to the 12-month clinical learning phase. Before progression into the clinical learning phase, students must provide the program with a letter of medical clearance from their primary care provider. The clinical learning phase consists of more than 2,000 hours of patient care. Eight clinical learning rotations, each six weeks in length, are conducted at a variety of outpatient and/or inpatient clinical sites. Scheduling of rotations will be subject to change. Students will be expected to develop their core competencies in the following areas: medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, and professionalism. Students will also be expected to learn the professional competencies of practice-based learning and improvement focusing on the concept of systems-based practice for future life-long learning.

Clinical learning rotation sites and preceptors are selected and evaluated by the PA Program’s Clinical Faculty. Students are not required or permitted to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors. However, students may suggest a clinical site/preceptor to the Director of Clinical Services a minimum of four months prior to the start of the suggested clinical rotation. The Director of Clinical Services will approve or disapprove of the prospective site/preceptor following evaluation of the site and preceptor by the Clinical Faculty. Students are not permitted to make formal arrangements for clinical learning rotations with clinical sites or preceptors without prior approval from the Director of Clinical Services. Students are responsible for their own travel, meals, and lodging during the clinical year.

PAS 5610 Internal Medicine (9 quarter credit hours)
This rotation will allow the PA student to demonstrate knowledge and core competencies in the discipline of internal medicine. The student will demonstrate knowledge and core competencies related to internal medicine pertaining to the diagnoses, pathophysiology, risk factors, laboratory interpretation, procedures, and therapeutic strategies used in patient evaluation and treatment. During this rotation the student is expected to recognize the signs and symptoms of a variety of medical illness and become familiar with treatment plans appropriate to internal medicine. This rotation will offer clinical experience in an inpatient and/or outpatient setting providing medical care for mainly the adult and geriatric population. Testing, and evaluation for this rotation will be based on the knowledge, skills and abilities related to internal medicine.

PAS 5620 General Surgery (9 quarter credit hours)
This rotation will provide the PA student with the opportunity to learn surgical principles, surgical pathology, and relevant laboratory studies as seen in surgical settings, as well as indications, limitations, and methodology of surgical procedures and therapeutic strategies used in surgery today. During this rotation the student will recognize the signs and symptoms of a variety of surgical conditions and become familiar with treatment plans appropriate to surgery. This rotation will teach the student to respect and appreciate the contributions of other health care professionals in the overall delivery of health care and the importance of a team approach. This rotation will provide the student with access to patients in the inpatient setting, and may also include evaluating patients in the outpatient setting. Testing and evaluation for this rotation will be based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities related to general surgery.

PAS 5630 Family Medicine/Geriatrics (9 quarter credit hours)
This rotation will allow the PA student to demonstrate knowledge and core competencies in the discipline of family medicine. The student will demonstrate knowledge and core competencies related to comprehensive and continuing health care to a culturally diverse patient population and regardless of the nature or presentation of the problems encountered. The student is expected to apply their clinical knowledge and skills to a wide and diverse range of patient problems and presentations. These will incorporate medical, psychosocial and preventive aspects. The student should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment modalities of those illnesses most commonly seen in a family practice setting. This rotation will offer clinical experience in ambulatory practice and or inpatient and long term facilities focusing of the knowledge, skills and abilities related to providing medical care for the life span of patients. Testing, and evaluation for this rotation will be based on the knowledge, skills and abilities related to family medicine.

PAS 5640 Emergency Medicine (9 quarter credit hours)
This clinical rotation will provide the PA student with exposure to the diagnosis and treatment of patients of all ages presenting to the emergency or urgent care center with a wide variety of emergent health care problems. Emphasis is placed on developing skills in recognizing signs and symptoms of common emergencies, taking appropriate action to sustain life, collecting relevant data, and providing accurate assessment and management of a variety of acute and life threatening medical, surgical and psychiatric illnesses and injuries. The PA student will learn the indications, limitations, and the evidence-based methodology of emergency medicine procedures and therapeutic strategies. Students will demonstrate knowledge and competencies appropriate to clinical problems encountered and procedures common to the emergency room setting.

PAS 5650 Women’s Health (9 quarter credit hours)
This rotation will provide the PA student with the opportunity to learn the basic and practical information in gynecology and women’s health. Students will make use of the evidence-based paradigm tailoring it to the indications, limitations, and methodology as related to gynecology, and procedures and therapeutic strategies utilized in women’s healthcare settings. During this rotation the student is expected to recognize the signs and symptoms of a variety of medical conditions and become familiar with treatment plans appropriate to women’s health, including gynecology and reproductive care. This rotation will offer clinical experience in inpatient and/or outpatient facilities providing medical care for female patients.

PAS 5660 Pediatrics (9 quarter credit hours)
This clinical rotation will provide the PA student with exposure to the care of the pediatric patient from neonates to late adolescents. The student is expected to demonstrate knowledge of the indications, limitations, and methodology of pediatric procedure and therapeutic strategies. An emphasis is given to developing a comprehensive database and a systematic evidence-based approach to common pediatric problems and those of adolescents. The student is expected to recognize signs and symptoms of a variety of pediatric disorders. In addition, the student will demonstrate the appropriate evaluation of normal child development, well-child care, current immunization updates and ongoing patient education and health promotion.

PAS 5671 Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Health (9 quarter credit hours)
The rotation will provide the student with an understanding of the variety of emotional and psychiatric states along with basic psychopathology and pharmacotherapeutics. In this rotation the students will augment and strengthen their deductive reasoning and clinical decision making skills by developing a systematic, evidence-based approach to common behavioral medicine problems. These problems are those most likely to be seen in primary and inpatient settings. This clinical learning rotation will enable the student to develop skills to make a mental health assessment. Emphasis will be placed on developing clinical and communication skills, further strengthening students ability to gain insight into the psychosocial aspects of comprehensive patient care.

PAS 5680 Elective Rotation (9 quarter credit hours)
The elective clinical rotation can be conducted in any of the core clinical learning rotations or available specialty rotations currently utilized within the Physician Assistant Program. Other elective rotations may be developed by the clinical coordinator or upon request as approved by the Director of Clinical Services. In the elective, the student will demonstrate knowledge and core competencies related to that specialty pertaining to the diagnoses, pathophysiology, risk factors, laboratory interpretation, procedures, and therapeutic strategies used. Testing and evaluation for the elective rotation will be based on the knowledge, skills and abilities related to the specialty.

PAS 5691 Clinical Summative Review (3 quarter credit hours)
This course is intended to assure that students have met defined program objectives for the knowledge, skills, and attitudes suitable for clinical practice. It will include a multi-system approach to assess physical examination and history taking skills, communication skills and the ability to summarize and document findings, make a differential diagnosis and treatment plan. This course will include standardized patient encounters with problem based Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, a comprehensive oral case presentation to a faculty member, completion of a comprehensive multi-choice examination, and completion of the PACKRAT examination. Students will be individually evaluated and advised throughout this course by faculty members.

PAS 5701 Capstone Research Project (3 quarter credit hours)
The Capstone Research Project requires the PA student to apply knowledge and skills acquired in the structured competency-based PA curriculum to a specific research or practical clinical experience oriented project. The specific skills developed through this process include the ability to critically evaluation the relevant medical literature, comprehend the research process, and enhance the awareness of potential research questions related to general clinical practice. Each PA student is required to present his/her approved Capstone Research Project to a panel that includes at least two health science faculty members and an outside professional with expertise related to the project. PA students are expected to develop their Capstone Research Project in a format suitable for publication.