Physician Assistant Program Curriculum

Misericordia University
Physician Assistant Program
Required Program Sequence of Study

Didactic (12 months) Course List


Course

SUMMER I Semester 2018 Year I
(6 weeks)

Credit

PA 526

PA Practice and Ethics

2

PA 529

PA’s in the Healthcare system and Public health

1

PA 537

Patient History and Communication

2

PA 544

Clinical Anatomy

4

Summer I 2018 Year I
Course Credit Total

9

Course

FALL 2018 Semester Year I
(16 weeks)

Credit

PA 530

Clinical Medicine I

5

PA 538

Patient Assessment I

3

PA 541

Pharmacology I

2

PA 546

Pathophysiology I

2

PA 570

Evidence Based Practice

1

PA 533

Clinical Problem Solving & Diagnostics I

2

Fall 2018 Semester Year I
Course Credit Total

15

Course

SPRING 2019 Semester Year I
(18 weeks)

Credit

PA 531

Clinical Medicine II

8

PA 539

Patient Assessment II

3

PA 542

Pharmacology II

2

PA 547

Pathophysiology II (start Jan 21)

2

PA 535

Clinical Disciplines (surgery for 9 weeks/EM for 9 weeks)

3

PA 534

Clinical Problem Solving &
Diagnostics II

2

PA 560

Clinical Genetics

1

Spring 2019 Semester Year I
Course Credit Total

21

Course

SUMMER Semester II Year I
(5 weeks)

Credit

PA 532

Clinical Medicine III

2

PA 543

Pharmacology III

2

PA 540

Patient Assessment III

2

PA 552

Medical Procedures & Clinical Skills

3

PA 600

Transition to Clinical Practice

1




Summer Semester II Year I
Course Credit Total

10


Clinical (13 months) Course List

(Fall, Spring, Summer Semesters)

Course

Rotations (6 weeks)

Credit

PA 601

Family Medicine

6

PA 603

Internal Medicine

6

PA 604

Pediatrics

6

PA 605

Psychiatry

6

PA 606

General Surgery

6

PA 607

Women’s Health

6


PA 608

Emergency Medicine

6

PA 609

Elective

6

Total Clinical Course Credits

48

PA 634

Masters Project

2

Total Didactic Course Credits

55

Total Clinical Course Credits

48

Masters Project Course Credits

2

Grand Total PA Program Course Credits

105

Curricular Components – Course Descriptions

Didactic Year – Summer Semester I

Didactic Year – Summer Semester I

PA526: PA Profession and Ethics

This course provides an historical perspective of the physician assistant profession, as well as an investigation of current trends and issues. The course stresses the importance of biomedical ethics and professional responsibilities in relation to the physician assistant’s role as a health care provider. Content relating to physician assistant professional organizations, program accreditation, graduate certification and re-certification, employment considerations, and professional liability is included. This course is also includes required Service-Learning, an educational method in which the participants perform service work and actively learn from it.

PA529: PA’s in the Healthcare System and Public Health

This course gives students a foundation of practical knowledge about the health system and the PA profession. Issues and questions are presented and will be discussed in relation to their impact on citizens as well as the practicing physician assistant. The influence of cultural issues on healthcare policy and the relationship between socioeconomic issues will be explored along with the role of the PA in the context of the modern US healthcare system. PAs in public health and issues surrounding them will also be discussed.

PA537: Patient History and Communication

This course provides instruction in communication skills for the effective exchange of information with patients. Addressed in the course are patient – provider collaboration, health literacy, and communication techniques for patients across cultural and generational groups, and counseling techniques for patient education, treatment adherence, and health promotion. Focus in the course is to develop a base of knowledge for interviewing patients across the lifespan, however the specific group focus here is primarily with patients who are considered young adult, adult, and geriatric populations.

PA544: Clinical Anatomy

This course is designed to reinforce and enhance the student’s knowledge of human anatomy in preparation for a career in medicine. Further, the lecture course will focus on those concepts and structures not readily visible in cadaver dissection (histological, developmental and physiological), and strive to connect anatomical and physiological detail with clinical practice. The lab part of this course will focus on the gross anatomy of the human utilizing cadaver dissection.

Didactic Year – Fall Semester

Didactic Year – Fall Semester

PA530: Clinical Medicine I

The purpose of the Clinical Medicine I course is to introduce the student to clinical conditions commonly encountered in practicing primary care medicine. Lectures will emphasize the epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentation, disease course, diagnostic, and treatment modalities of each medical topic. This course teaches the pathology of disease by system and specialty and the focus is on the young adult, adult, and geriatric population. Topics for the course will include the following: clinical laboratory medicine, nutrition, dermatology, ophthalmology & otolaryngology (EENT), pulmonary, and cardiology with EKG interpretation.

PA533: Clinical Problem Solving & Diagnostics I

The course will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of critical thinking involved in the process of clinical problem solving. In large and small group settings, a problem based learning (PBL) format will be used to integrate clinical reasoning and thinking to solve problems frequently encountered in the day to day practice of medicine. Laboratory and diagnostics based on clinical scenarios facilitate development of critical thinking skills. Throughout the year, the cases presented will relate to the organ system being studied in pathophysiology, clinical medicine, pharmacology, and patient assessment.

PA538: Patient Assessment I

This course teaches foundational skills and techniques required to gather a complete medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. The course introduces the student to the practice of history taking and physical examinations in the young adult, adult, and geriatric populations of the following systems: skin, head, face, neck, lymph, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, thorax & lungs, heart & neck vessels, peripheral vascular, abdomen, musculoskeletal and neurological. During the course, integration of the student’s knowledge of the structure and function of the human body is coupled with laboratory sessions emphasizing the proper use of diagnostic equipment and techniques for performing a comprehensive physical examination.

The following will be used to facilitate the learning process: lectures, assigned readings, case presentations, and lab sessions. In this course, the student will have the opportunity to develop competence in taking histories, practicing SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) notes, formulating a differential diagnoses, creating effective management plans, performing physical examinations and patient education.

PA541: Pharmacology I

In this course, the student will be introduced to pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacotherapeutic principles that provide a foundation for the study of pharmacology and therapeutics. Combined lecture, active learning exercises and discussion boards are designed to develop the pharmacologic and therapeutic skills that a physician assistant will need to enhance patient care in clinical practice. Topics this semester will emphasize the following areas: an introduction to basic principles, autonomic pharmacology, antibiotics, pulmonary, and cardiovascular diseases.

PA546: Pathophysiology I

In this course, students learn integrative human physiology and pathophysiology involving concepts of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and reproductive systems, with an emphasis upon homeostatic mechanisms and etiologies of disease. Students learn the interrelationships of function and dysfunction at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and systemic levels.

PA570: Evidence Based Practice

This course provides an introduction in accessing computer based medically oriented information and evidence based medicine databases. Review of basic statistics precedes statistical application to evidence based theory, as it pertains to epidemiology, public health, and the practice of clinical medicine. Course emphasizes use of up to date evidence based literature to validate and improve the practice of clinical medicine now and as a life long learner.

Didactic Year – Spring Semester

Didactic Year – Spring Semester

PA531: Clinical Medicine II

The purpose of the Clinical Medicine II course is to introduce the student to clinical conditions commonly encountered in practicing primary care medicine. Lectures will emphasize the epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentation, disease course, diagnostic and treatment modalities of each medical topic. This course builds on the pathology of disease presented in Physician Assistant 530 Clinical Medicine I and focuses on the young adult, adult, and geriatric populations. It continues with the presentation of the following systems: endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, orthopedics, ob-gyn, genitourinary, and psychiatry. These disorders are presented by system and specialty as well as augmented with clinical therapeutics.

PA534: Clinical Problem Solving & Diagnostics II

The course will continue to build on the foundation learned in Clinical Problem Solving and Diagnostics I and will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of critical thinking involved in the process of clinical problem solving. In large and small group settings, a problem based learning (PBL) format will be used to integrate clinical reasoning and thinking to solve problems frequently encountered in the day to day practice of medicine. Laboratory and diagnostics based on clinical scenarios facilitate development of critical thinking skills. Throughout the year, the cases presented will relate to the organ system being studied in pathophysiology, clinical medicine, pharmacology, and patient assessment.

Students will have weekly “pre-clinical” experiences and will expose the students to primary care, specialty practice, and other ancillary services of medicine. Students will observe with preceptor supervision and continue to learn the professional attributes and evidence based practice needed to care for patients. Students will bring their experiences back to the classroom to add to the clinical discussion of cases.

PA535: Clinical Disciplines

This course is designed to prepare the student for the General Surgery Rotation. General surgical concepts needed for the physician assistant to function in major surgical areas as well as primary care settings are presented. The course emphasizes the historical background of surgery, surgical techniques and procedures, and anesthesia.

Students also learn treatment of trauma and medical disorders commonly presenting to the emergency department. The emphasis is on the priority of stabilizing patients with life-threatening trauma or illness and selecting appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures. Students will become BLS (basic life support) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) certified as part of this class.

PA539: Patient Assessment II

In this course, the student will build on the knowledge and foundational skills and techniques learned in Physician Assistant 537 Patient History and Communication and Physician Assistant 538 Patient Assessment I in the performance of a thorough physical examination and medical history. The student will integrate the knowledge obtained in Physician Assistant 530 Clinical Medicine I with laboratory sessions emphasizing the proper use of diagnostic equipment and technique for performing a comprehensive physical examination as well as developing the skills necessary to perform a problem focused physical exam on the adolescent, young adult, adult, and geriatric populations. The student will also become more focused on patient education through the development of some patient education material and also an oral presentation to the class. The course topics will include the male/female examination, the psychiatric exam, admitting a patient to the hospital, discharging a patient, daily notes, discharge summaries, prescription writing, presenting a patient to an attending, and patient education.

During the course, integration of the student’s knowledge of the structure and function of the human body is coupled with laboratory sessions emphasizing the proper use of diagnostic equipment and techniques for performing a comprehensive physical examination.

The following will be used to facilitate the learning process: lectures, assigned readings, case presentations, and lab sessions. In this course, the student will have the opportunity to continue to develop competence in taking histories, practicing SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) notes, formulating a differential diagnoses, creating effective management plans, performing physical examinations and patient education. The student will also perform the skills learned during a 12 station formative objective simulated clinical examination (OSCE) at the end of the course.

PA542: Pharmacology II

In this course, the student will build upon the knowledge and skills obtain in Physician Assistant Studies (PA 541): Pharmacology I. Combined lecture, active learning exercises and discussion boards are designed to develop the pharmacologic and therapeutic skills that a physician assistant will need to enhance patient care in clinical practice. Topics this semester will focus on the following areas: Additional cardiovascular diseases, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, pain management, and rheumatology. The student will use clinical literature and guidelines to evaluate patient cases as they relate to pharmacology.

PA547: Pathophysiology II

In this course, students learn integrative human physiology and pathophysiology involving concepts of the neural, digestive, musculoskeletal and endocrine physiology, with an emphasis upon homeostatic mechanisms and etiologies of disease. Students learn the interrelationships of function and dysfunction at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and systemic levels.

PA560: Clinical Genetics

Medical genetics is a rapidly advancing field of medicine. It is now recognized that genetic mechanisms play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis and treatment of diseases and in the in the maintenance of health. This course is designed to provide an overview of human genetic concepts and clinical disorders that have a genetic component. The course seeks to teach the students to apply their knowledge of the principles of human genetics to a variety of clinical problems. It surveys many clinical areas including cytogenetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, population genetics and clinical genetics. The course is organized roughly according to genetic etiology and pathophysiology.

Didactic Year – Summer Semester II

Didactic Year – Summer Semester II

PA532: Clinical Medicine III

The purpose of the Clinical Medicine III course is to introduce the student to clinical conditions commonly encountered in practicing primary care medicine. Lectures will emphasize the epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentation, disease course, diagnostic and treatment modalities of each medical topic. This course builds on the pathology of disease presented in Physician Assistant 530 Clinical Medicine I and Physician Assistant 531 Clinical Medicine II and continues with the presentation of the following systems: hematology and oncology and infectious disease. It will also encompass the clinical conditions commonly encountered in the pediatric population. The course will focus on the newborn, child, adolescent, young adult, adult, and geriatric populations. The disorders are presented by system and specialty as well as augmented with clinical therapeutics.

PA540: Patient Assessment III

In this course, the student will build on the knowledge and foundational skills and techniques learned in Physician Assistant 537 Patient History and Communication, Physician Assistant 538 Patient Assessment I, and Physician Assistant 539 Patient Assessment II in the performance of a thorough physical examination and medical history. The student will integrate the knowledge obtained in Physician Assistant 530 Clinical Medicine I, and Physician Assistant 531 Clinical Medicine II with laboratory sessions emphasizing the proper use of diagnostic equipment and technique for performing a comprehensive physical examination. The student will integrate the knowledge and skills that they have built upon in the previous semesters and apply that to the pediatric, surgical, and geriatric patient. The student will also expand their knowledge and ability to perform directed exams as well as integrating patient education into their “mock” office visits. They will also engage in 2 inter-professional education activities, one with the physical therapy and/or the nurse practitioner students to communicate medical information to a non-English speaking patient using the language line interpreter; and the other with the ultrasound students to complete an ultrasound on a pregnant patient. The student will also continue learning the documentation process of the complete medical chart.

During the course, integration of the student’s knowledge of the structure and function of the human body is coupled with laboratory sessions emphasizing the proper use of diagnostic equipment and techniques for performing a comprehensive physical examination and relate that to problem focused exams in the newborn, child, adolescent, young adult, adult patients with surgical problems, and the geriatric patient.

The following will be used to facilitate the learning process: lectures, assigned readings, case presentations, and lab sessions. In this course, the student will have the opportunity to continue to develop competence in taking histories, practicing SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) notes, formulating a differential diagnoses, creating effective management plans, performing physical examinations and patient education.

PA543: Pharmacology III

In this course, the student will build upon the knowledge and skills obtained in PA 542 pharmacology II. Combined lecture, readings, active learning exercises and discussion boards are designed to develop the pharmacologic and therapeutic skills that a physician assistant will need to enhance patient care in clinical practice. Topics this semester will be focusing on psychology, renal disorders, men’s health, genitourinary disorders, women’s health, hematology/oncology, viral and fungal diseases, dermatology and alternative/complimentary medicines as well as dietary supplements. The student will use clinical literature and current guidelines to evaluate patients as they relate to pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics.

PA552: Medical Procedures & Clinical Skills

In this course, students will build upon the knowledge and concepts learned in Clinical Disciplines, Patient Assessment I and II and Clinical Medicine I and II in order to evaluate a patient in an acute care setting and determine the medical procedure needed for that patient. Students learn to perform procedures such as suturing, splinting, wound care, intravenous insertions, nasogastric intubations and Foley catheter insertion.

PA600: Transition to Clinical Practice

This course will introduce students to the clinical year and clinical practice. Students will be introduced to the day to day operation of an ambulatory care site or primary care office and what role the physician assistant plays in patient care. Students will be given an overview of documentation, billing, coding, reimbursement, quality assurance, risk management, and other practice based essentials. Clinical year policy and procedures will be included as topics in this course.

Clinical Year – Fall, Spring, Final Summer

Clinical Year – Fall, Spring, Final Summer

PA601: Family Medicine

The Family Medicine rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the assessment and management of acute, chronic, and preventative patient encounters, to include care across the life span (children, adolescents, adults, and elderly).

PA603: Internal Medicine

The internal medicine rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the assessment and management of acute, chronic, and preventative adult and geriatric patient encounters.

PA604: Pediatrics

The Pediatric Rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the assessment and management of acute, chronic, and preventative newborn, children, and adolescent patient encounters.

PA605: Behavioral and Mental Health

The Psychiatry Rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies related to the assessment, management, and prevention of acute and chronic mental, emotional, behavioral, and substance abuse disorders for adult and geriatric patient encounters.

PA606: General Surgery

The General Surgery rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the assessment and management of acute and chronic general surgery conditions, as well as, pre-op, operative, and post-op adult and geriatric patient encounters.

PA607: Women’s Health

The Women’s Health rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the assessment and management of the women’s health patient to include acute, chronic, and preventative pre-natal and gynecological adult patient encounters.

PA608: Emergency Medicine

The Emergency Medicine rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the initial evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, coordination of care among multiple providers, and disposition of any patient of any age requiring immediate medical, surgical, or psychiatric care.

PA609: Elective

The Elective Rotation is a 6 week required supervised clinical practice experience. This rotation is student-selected in a medical discipline that may reflect the student’s intended career path, or particular interest. The student will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired in the didactic year and develop proficiencies in the assessment and management of patient encounters specific to the selected setting.

PA634: Masters Project

The Master’s Project builds on the evidence-based medicine course completed during the didactic phase of the program by having students participate individually in the conception, development, and production of a literature review. This course will give students the opportunity to integrate a topic of their interest from a patient case encountered during a supervised clinical experience. Students will meet in a weekly seminar class where faculty provide feedback and support.

Upon successful completion of the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program, graduates will be awarded a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree.

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