MPAS Course Descriptions

Didactic Phase

The didactic Phase of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (PA) program is comprised of four semesters. Although primarily campus-based, students occasionally need to travel to clinical application obligations, including local interprofessional education activities.

Fall 1 (16 weeks):
PAS 5007 FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN MEDICINE (7 CREDITS)
This lecture and lab course is an in-depth study of gross human cadaveric anatomy and physiology, and covers clinically relevant genetics. Prerequisite: Matriculation into the PA program.

PAS 5014 CLINICAL SKILLS-I (4 CREDITS)
This is the first of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of basic and advanced health histories and physical exams, interpretation of laboratory, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and training in basic and advanced cardiac life support. In this course, the emphasis will be on the art of communication in medicine, the medical interview, and the proper documentation of medical encounters. Students will also be introduced to the interpretation of common clinical laboratory tests and will begin to learn how to perform a general physical examination. Prerequisite: Matriculation into the PA program.

PAS 5022 PA PROFESSIONAL ISSUES, MEDICAL ETHICS, AND PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS (2 CREDITS)
In this course, students learn about issues important to the PA profession, including its history, PA roles, supervisory agreements, practice laws, PA organizations, and future directions. Other covered topics include an introduction to billing and coding and an introduction to the psychosocial aspects of medical care. Students also learn about medical ethics, including the PA Professional Oath, the Guidelines to the Ethical Conduct of the PA Profession, and ethical issues and concerns in medical practice. Prerequisite: Matriculation into the PA Program. (Pass/Fail).

PAS 5052 CLINICAL APPLICATION AND REFLECTION EXPERIENCE-I (2 CREDITS)
This is the first in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem-solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation/standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communications and behaviors, conflict resolution, and stress management. Prerequisite: Matriculation into the PA Program. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 5063 PHARMACOLOGY (3 CREDITS)
This course provides an introduction to drugs commonly used to treat human disorders, including their classification, mechanisms of actions, indications, contraindications/cautions, formulations, routes of metabolism and excretion, adverse reactions, and drug interactions. Prerequisite: Matriculation into the PA program.

 

Spring 1 (16 weeks):
PAS 5110 CLINICAL MEDICINE AND THERAPEUTICS-I (10 CREDITS)
This is the first in a series of three courses for the study of the diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic medical disorders. The relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of disease states are discussed, followed by incidence/prevalence, associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, diagnostic criteria, diagnostic tests and procedures, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, prevention, patient education, follow-up care, course, and prognosis. This 3-series course series collectively covers disorders categorized under the following organ systems: cardiovascular, dermatology, EENT, endocrine, GI/Nutritional, GU, hematology, infectious disease, musculoskeletal/rheumatology, neurological, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, pulmonary, and reproductive. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Fall PA Curriculum.

PAS 5115 CLINICAL SKILLS-II (5 CREDITS)
This is the second of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of health histories and physical exams, interpretation of laboratory, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and training in basic and advanced cardiac life support. In this course, the emphasis is on the performance and documentation of a complete (head to toe) physical examination and the interpretation of 12-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs). Prerequisite: PAS 5014.

PAS 5152 CLINICAL APPLICATION AND REFLECTION EXPERIENCE-II (2 CREDITS)
This is the second in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem-solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation/standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communication and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management. Prerequisite: PAS 5052. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 5171 EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE-I (1 CREDIT)
In this two-course series, students are taught evidence-based methodologies to evaluate clinical questions related to diagnosis, therapy, harm, and prognosis. This includes how to effectively search the literature, as well as principles of research and statistical analysis for the critical appraisal of published research and for conducting future research or clinical quality improvement projects. Topics include research ethics, study designs, sampling methods, design validity, descriptive and inferential statistics, selecting the appropriate statistical test, and hypothesis testing. During these courses, students initiate a group research project that will be continued in the Graduate Project I, II, and III courses with the identification of a research problem, formulation of a research question, and the drafting of a literature review and study proposal. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Fall PA Curriculum. (Pass/Fail)

 

Summer 1 (12 weeks):
PAS 5205 CLINICAL MEDICINE AND THERAPEUTICS-II (5 CREDITS)
This is the second in a series of three courses for the study of the diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic medical disorders. The relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of disease states are discussed, followed by incidence/prevalence, associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, diagnostic criteria, diagnostic tests and procedures, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, prevention, patient education, follow-up care, course, and prognosis. This 3-series course series collectively covers disorders categorized under the following organ systems: cardiovascular, dermatology, EENT, endocrine, GI/Nutritional, GU, hematology, infectious disease, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, pulmonary, and reproductive. Prerequisite: PAS 5105.

PAS 5215 CLINICAL SKILLS-III (5 CREDITS)
This is the third of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of health histories and physical exams, interpretation of laboratory, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and training in basic and advanced cardiac life support. In this course, the emphasis is on the performance and documentation of problem-focused medical interviews and physical examinations and interpretation of commonly performed imaging studies. Prerequisite: PAS 5115.

PAS 5252 CLINICAL APPLICATION AND REFLECTION EXPERIENCE-III (2 CREDITS)
This is the third in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem-solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation/standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communication and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management. Prerequisite: PAS 5152. (Pass/Fail)

 

Fall 2 (16 weeks):
PAS 5310 CLINICAL MEDICINE AND THERAPEUTICS-III (10 CREDITS)
This is the third in a series of three courses for the study of the diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic medical disorders. The relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of disease states will be discussed, followed by incidence/prevalence, associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, diagnostic criteria, diagnostic tests and procedures, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, prevention, patient education, follow-up care, course, and prognosis. This 3-series course series collectively covers disorders categorized under the following organ systems: cardiovascular, dermatology, EENT, endocrine, GI/Nutritional, GU, hematology, infectious disease, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, pulmonary, and reproductive. Prerequisite: PAS 5210.

PAS 5315 CLINICAL SKILLS-IV (5 CREDITS)
This is the fourth of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of health histories and physical exams, interpretation of laboratory, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and training in basic and advanced cardiac life support. In this course, the emphasis is on specialty-focused medical interviews and physical examinations across the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics, including the unique healthcare needs for women, diverse patient populations, and patients with disabilities. The performance and interpretation of common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, advanced cardiac life support training, and an orientation to the operating room are also covered. Prerequisite: PAS 5215. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 5352 CLINICAL APPLICATION AND REFLECTION EXPERIENCE-IV (2 CREDITS)
This is the fourth in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem-solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation/standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communication and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management. Prerequisite: PAS 5252. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 5371 EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE-II (1 CREDIT)
This is a continuation of the Evidence Based Practice I course. Prerequisite: PAS 5271. (Pass/Fail)

 

Experiential Phase (Clinical Year)

The clinical phase of the physician assistant (PA) program encompasses approximately three semesters and is comprised of nine clinical rotations organized in five-week blocks. Students are responsible for their own travel and housing expenses. Students are not eligible for experiential phase courses until having successfully completed all didactic phase courses.

PAS 6141 SENIOR SEMINAR-I (1 CREDIT)
This is the first of three Senior Seminar courses intertwined with the experiential phase of the PA Program. Over this course series, students will be exposed to a wide variety of topics pertinent to medical practice, including: healthcare policy and systems issues, medicolegal aspects of clinical practice, reimbursement issues, PA employment issues, patient safety and error reduction measures, and public health issues (e.g., mandatory reporting requirements, public health disease control measures). In addition, students will give case presentations of interesting patients they cared for on clinical rotations, and participate in activities designed to prepare them for the end-of-program summative exam and PANCE. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 6241 SENIOR SEMINAR-II (1 CREDIT)
This is a continuation of the three-course series of Senior Seminar. Prerequisite: PAS 6141. (Pass/Fail)

PAC 6341 SENIOR SEMINAR III (1 CREDIT)
This is a continuation of the three-course series of Senior Seminar. Prerequisite: PAS 6241. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 6171 GRADUATE PROJECT-I (1 CREDIT)
This is the first in a series of three courses designed to build upon the previous Evidence Based Practice courses and provide students with experience in planning and implementing a primary research or clinical practice improvement project. Over the series of the Graduate Project courses, students actively participate in the research process by working in small groups to submit a formal research proposal, seek and obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, gather and analyze data, and properly communicate and defend findings in oral and written formats. By the conclusion of the Graduate Project I course, students are expected to complete a research proposal and apply for Institutional Review Board approval. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 6271 GRADUATE PROJECT-II (1 CREDIT)
This is the second in a series of three Graduate Project courses. By the conclusion of the Graduate Project II course, students are expected to finalize data collection and begin the data analysis and interpretation sections of their scholarly project. Prerequisite: 6171. (Pass/Fail)

PAS 6371 GRADUATE PROJECT-III (1 CREDIT)
This is the third in a series of three Graduate Project courses. By the conclusion of the Graduate Project III course, students are expected to complete their scholarly project and present and defend their findings before program faculty. Prerequisite: PAS 6271. (Pass/Fail)

Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE):
The clinical phase of the physician assistant (PA) program encompasses approximately three semesters and is organized into nine 5-week clinical rotation periods. Students must travel to clinical rotations and return to campus for end-of-rotation activities.  Students are not eligible for experiential phase courses until have successfully completed all didactic phase courses.

  • PAS 6015 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 1 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6025 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 2 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6035 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 3 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6045 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 4 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6055 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 5 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6065 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 6 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6075 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 7 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6085 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 8 (5 CREDITS)
  • PAS 6095 CLINICAL PRACTICUM (ROTATION) 9 (5 CREDITS)

There are program required rotations and opportunities for elective experiences. Required are experiences in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, General Surgery, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, and Behavioral Health. The student will have opportunities to explore elective rotation experiences depending upon preceptor availability. The Program must ensure that students meet program requirements for the clinical phase, and, as such, reserves the right to assign rotations/supplemental activities to be sure requirements are met.

FAMILY MEDICINE ROTATION
In this 5-week (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients in family medicine settings. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order and interpret laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

INTERNAL MEDICINE ROTATION
In this 5-week (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage adult and geriatric patients in a hospital setting or internal medicine office. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases for a diverse population. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

EMERGENCY MEDICINE ROTATION
In this 5-week (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients presenting to Emergency Department and urgent care settings. Students are expected to appropriately triage and stabilize patients, perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations, and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans, and make appropriate referrals. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of patients with acute disorders and acute exacerbations of chronic disorders, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

GENERAL SURGERY ROTATION
In this 5-week (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with common surgical disorders in pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative settings. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in determining if there is a surgically amenable condition and if the patient is a surgical candidate. Exposure to surgical techniques and surgical assisting are included. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of the surgical patient, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

WOMEN’S HEALTH ROTATION
In this (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage women’s health, gynecological and reproductive issues, and prenatal care. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. There is a potential for exposure to surgical techniques and surgical assisting opportunities. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into women’s health care, for a diverse population. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

PEDIATRICS ROTATION
In this (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage newborns, infants, children, and adolescent patients. Students are expected to assess patients for normal growth and development, perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations, and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatments. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion (including interpretation of immunization schedules) are incorporated into the care of the pediatric patient. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

BEHAVIOR HEALTH ROTATION
In this (required) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with psychiatric or behavioral health disorders. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and psychiatric assessments and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and appropriate treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of patients with a psychiatric or behavioral health condition, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

ORTHOPEDICS CLINICAL ROTATION
In this 5-week (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal disorders. Exposure to surgical techniques and surgical assisting may be included. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of patients with musculoskeletal disorders, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

PLASTIC SURGERY ROTATION ELECTIVE
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients undergoing reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in pre-operative evaluation and post-operative patient management. Exposure to surgical techniques and surgical assisting opportunities are included. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

HEMATOLOGY/ONCOLOGY ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with hematologic/oncologic disorders. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

GENITOURINARY ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients in a nephrology or urology practice. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases, for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

GASTROENTEROLOGY ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with gastrointestinal conditions in a gastroenterology practice. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating a diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

OTORHINOLARYNGOLOGY (ENT) ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with disorders of the ears, nose, throat and related structures in an otorhinolaryngology practice. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating a diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

DERMATOLOGY ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients with acute and chronic skin conditions in a dermatology practice. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

CARDIOLOGY ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, Students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients in a cardiology practice. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases of a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)

MISC. ELECTIVE ROTATION
In this (elective) clinical rotation, students apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed during the didactic phase to evaluate and manage patients in a medical or surgical practice area not otherwise listed in the course catalogue. Students are expected to perform appropriate health histories and physical examinations and order laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies to assist in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans as related to the elective’s discipline. Patient education, disease prevention, and health promotion are incorporated into the care of acute and chronic diseases for a diverse population over the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. (Pass/Fail)


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