Ryan Adler, M '11

Major: PA Studies
Job Title: Physician Assistant

I applied to 10 PA programs and visited several of the schools. It was evident from the interview process at Mount Union that I wasn’t going to be a number, but an individual in the program with the opportunity to have individualized attention if needed. The facilities were among the best that I had seen.

Curriculum

The program is a 27-month program that will award a Master of Science of Physician Assistant Studies degree (MSPAS) upon program completion. There is a 15-month didactic phase consisting of traditional lectures, web-based interactive learning, student laboratories and seminars; and a 12-month clinical phase which consists of patient care experience(s) at clinical practices in various disciplines of medicine.

The supervised clinical rotation schedule begins prior to the start date of the academic fall semester, and ends eight weeks into the summer semester. Each rotation lasts four weeks. Students meet once every four weeks, at the end of the clinical practicum rotation, for the post-rotation Professional Development Seminar. There are two elective rotation choices (see below).

Training and development in research methodology and evidence-based practice takes place throughout the curriculum.

 

First Year Curriculum



Semester One (Summer I) - 15 credits    (12 weeks)

Course
Number
Course Name Credits
PA 501 The Physician Assistant Profession 1
PA 502 Clinical Anatomy 4
PA 503 Human Physiology 4
PA 505 Genetic and Molecular Mechanisms of Health and Disease 3
PA 510 History and Physical Exam I Techniques I and Lab 3
  Semester Totals    15

 

Semester Two (Fall I) - 20 credits    (16 weeks)

Course
Number
Course Name Credits
PA 504 Pathophysiology
4
PA 507 Patient Diagnostics 2
PA 511 History and Physical Exam Techniques II and Lab 4
PA 512 Clinical Medicine I 6
PA 515 Pharmacology I 4
  Semester Totals 
20

 

Semester Three (Spring I) - 20 credits    (15 weeks)

Course
Number
Course Name Credits
PA 506 Electrocardiography 1
PA 513 Clinical Medicine II 6
PA 516 Pharmacology II  4
PA 517

Medical Ethics

2
PA 518 Clinical Skills 2
PA 519 Research Methods and Evidence-Based Medicine 3
PA 520 Behavioral Medicine and
Preventive Measures
2
  Semester Totals
20

 

Semester Four (Summer II) - 17 credits    (12 weeks)

Course
Number
Course Name Credits
PA 514 Clinical Medicine III 6
PA 521 Healthcare Policy and Delivery 2
PA 522 Leadership and Preparation for Practice 2
PA 523 Emergency Medicine 4
PA 524 Integrative Patient Care Management 3
  Semester Totals 17


Semester Five (Fall II) - 9 credits    (16 weeks)

Course
Number

Course Name Credits
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum I 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum II 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum III 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum IV 2
PA 615 Professional Development
Seminar I
1
  Semester Totals 9

 

Semester Six (Spring II) - 10 credits    (16 weeks)

Course
Number
Course Name Credits
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum V 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum VI 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum VII 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum VIII 2
PA 625 Professional Development Seminar II  1
PA 660 Introduction to the Master’s Capstone Project 1
  Semester Totals 10

 

Semester Seven (Summer III) - 9 credits    (12 weeks)

Course
Number
Course Name Credits
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum IX 2
PA 6xx Clinical Practicum X 2
PA 635 Professional Development Seminar III 1
PA 670 Master’s Capstone Project 3
PA 671 Summative Evaluation 1
  Semester Totals 9
     
  Total Program Credit Hours
100

 

The actual sequencing in the clinical year varies from student to student.  The required course names and numbers are as follows: 

Course Number Clinical Practicum
Credit Hours
PA 610 Family medicine 2 credits
PA 611 Pediatrics 2 credits
PA 620 Internal Medicine 2 credits
PA 621 General Surgery 2 credits
PA 630 Women’s Health 2 credits
PA 631 Psychiatry/Behavioral Medicine 2 credits
PA 640 Primary Care 2 credits
PA 641 Emergency Medicine 2 credits
PA 650 Elective I 2 credits

PA 651

Elective II

2 credits

 

Course Descriptions

PA 501   The Physician Assistant Profession (1 credits)
Introduction to the PA profession, including information about the history of the profession, AAPA Code of Ethics, credentialing and recertification requirements of the PA profession, the PA professional's role in healthcare delivery and reimbursement systems, relationship with the supervising physician and other healthcare professionals; information about legislation and governing bodies that affect the profession. Use of appropriate referral sources when patient management is outside scope of PA practice; introduction to principal of intellectual honesty.

PA 502   Clinical Anatomy (4 credits)
In-depth study of clinical anatomy of the human body. Emphasis on important anatomical landmarks required in physical evaluation of patient, anatomical relationships of structures to each other, anatomical components of body systems, and blood and nerve supply to organs and body regions; includes common pathological processes and topical landmarks related to common surgical procedures. Students analyze, synthesize and apply clinically relevant anatomical information for physical examination, proper diagnosis, appropriate therapy, accurate prognosis in patient care and other clinical procedures. Students will have the opportunity to apply anatomical knowledge through the use of case studies and cadaver laboratory experiences.

PA 503   Human Physiology (4 credits)
A comprehensive study of the physiology of the human. Emphasis will be directed toward advanced instruction in membrane physiology, control of cellular activity, neuromuscular physiology, renal physiology, endocrinology, cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous system.

PA 504   Human Pathophysiology (4 credits)
Course covers basic pathologic and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system commonly encountered in primary care practice.

PA 505   Molecular Mechanisms of Health and Disease (3 credits)
Principles of clinical genetics and the use of traditional and molecular methods for the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of genetic disorders; includes genetic counseling concepts for disease prevention

PA 506   EKG (1 credit)
Technique of 12-lead electrocardiography (EKG) recording and interpretation presented; designed to allow students to recognize and interpret EKG tracings and their clinical significance.

PA 507   Patient Diagnostics (2 credits)
Introduction to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures utilized to evaluate body systems, including laboratory, radiography, and respiratory methods and techniques, their indications and general principles of interpretation. Simulated cases will be included to further develop clinical decisionmaking skills.

PA 510   History and Physical Exam I (3 credits)
Introduction to obtaining and recording the complete medical history; course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Introduction to lifelong learning skills and cultural diversity influences on all aspects of medical practice. Patient counseling and/or patient education theory and techniques discussed; skills will be developed through structured laboratory exercises.

PA 511   History and Physical Exam II (4 credits)
Instruction, study, and practice of skills required for conduction of a complete physical examination using appropriate equipment, techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings. Includes instruction to identify and discuss normal and abnormal anatomical structures, body system physiology, pathological conditions, common symptoms of disorders, clinical findings and provide appropriate patient education.

PA 512   Clinical Medicine I (6 credits)
An intensive study of human diseases and disorders in the broad scope of clinical medicine including the perspectives of epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, pertinent preventative medicine, laboratory medicine perspectives, and prognosis. In addition, an overview of physiological and pathologic processes that influence the human organism at the cellular, organ and systemic levels. Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation.

PA 513   Clinical Medicine II (6 credits)
Part II of an intensive study of human diseases and disorders in the broad scope of clinical medicine including the perspectives of epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, pertinent preventative medicine, laboratory medicine perspectives, and prognosis. In addition, an overview of physiological and pathologic processes that influence the human organism at the cellular, organ and systemic levels. Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation.

PA 514   Clinical Medicine III (6 credits)
Presentation of medical problems and diseases encountered in primary care practice, emphasizing obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics. Etiology, signs, symptoms, diagnostic data interpretation, clinical course, methods of management and potential complications provide framework for lecture and discussion. Differential diagnosis of related and similar diseases included.

PA 515   Pharmacology I (4 credits)
Preparation for appropriate administration/prescription of medicines is accomplished through a study of drug classifications, pharmacodynamic actions, and rationale for therapeutic use of prescription and non-prescription medications.

PA 516   Pharmacology II (4 credits)
Continuation of a two-part course. Preparation for appropriate administration/prescription of medicines is accomplished through a study of drug classifications, pharmacodynamic actions, and rationale for therapeutic use of prescription and non-prescription medications.

PA 517   Medical Ethics (2 credits)
The course will focus on moral problems which arise in the day-to-day practice of health-care professionals, administrators, and researchers within the framework of existing institutions, social policies, and laws. It will include readings on controversial moral issues in clinical ethics and apply forms and strategies of moral reasoning to selected cases.

PA 518   Clinical Skills (2 credits)
Bedside and surgical procedures including aseptic technique, air and blood-borne pathogen transmission prevention, Foley catheter insertion, injections, surgical techniques, and casting.

PA 519   Research Methods and Evidence-Based Medicine (3 credits)
Course is intended to enable the students to evaluate the findings in current literature in light of current clinical practice. Students will become proficient in database search techniques, the interpretation of published research, and in determining the quality of published research to guide clinical practice decisions.

PA 520   Behavioral Medicine and Preventive Measures (2 credits)
Instruction focused on the detection and application of preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including stress, abuse and violence, substance abuse and psychological symptoms and syndromes through basic counseling, patient education and/or appropriate referrals that are sensitive to culture and ethnicity. Introduction to strategies to identify and ease patient reaction to illness and end of life issues and application of those strategies to overcome resistance, encourage therapeutic 11 cooperation, and assist in changing patient risky behaviors. Cultural diversity and its relationship to health, disease, and death will be addressed. Other topics include sexuality and health.

PA 521   Healthcare Policy and Delivery (2 credits)
Explores trends in health care delivery, related public policy, and funding issues, as well as theoretical and ethical considerations in delivering care. Topics include healthcare disparities, the medically underserved, and managed care.

PA 522   Leadership and Preparation for Practice (2 credits)
Course reviews leadership roles in healthcare and provides review techniques and sessions for the NCCPA exam.

PA 523   Emergency Medicine (4 credits)
Provides an overview of potentially life-threatening illnesses and injuries encountered in emergency situations or in the critically ill patient. Discusses the essentials of assessment and management for the initial evaluation, stabilization, assessment, management and treatment, patient education, disposition and follow-up of an acutely ill patient requiring expeditious medical, surgical, or psychiatric attention.

PA 524   Integrative Patient Care Management (3 credits)
Using problem-based scenarios, students work through patient cases to develop appropriate differential diagnoses.

 

Clinical Practicum I-X (2 credits each):

PA 610   Family Medicine
Four-week rotation in clinical health care settings designed to emphasize the role of the Physician Assistant to the primary care physician.

PA 611   Pediatrics
This four-week pediatric rotation is designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with an intense exposure of primary care pediatric problems with the objectives of developing skills in well-child preventative care, the care of common pediatric illnesses and the care of the newborn and children.

PA 620   Internal Medicine
Four-week rotation designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with the opportunity to develop proficiency in the addressing common medical issues via patient encounters in a clinical setting.

PA 621   General Surgery
This four-week rotation is designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with opportunities to become proficient in pre-operative, intraoperative, and post-operative patient care. Student expected to become able to first-assist a surgeon in a surgical setting.

PA 630   Women’s Health
This four-week obstetrics/gynecology rotation is designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with an opportunity to develop proficiency in the unique medical history, physical examination, and treatment of the prenatal/gynecology patient. The student will also become familiar with tests and procedures unique to this patient population.

PA 631   Psychiatry/Behavioral Medicine
This four-week psychiatric rotation is designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with a behavioral medicine experience in caring for ambulatory and hospitalized patients with psychiatric disorders. The student will be able to perform basic psychiatric evaluations, monitor medications, and support the clinical management plan for patients after psychiatric evaluation and treatment. The student will also be able to refer to psychiatrists and psychiatric facilities as needed.

PA 640   Primary Care
This four-week rotation is designed to enhance the Physician Assistant student’s experience in a Primary Care setting. The rotation scope is broad and encompasses such specialties as inpatient Hospital Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Palliative Medicine, Pediatric Inpatient Medicine, and Urgent Care.

PA 641   Emergency Medicine
This four-week emergency medicine rotation is designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with exposure to and development of skills in managing patients in the emergency room setting. Learned skills will include those necessary for appropriate triage, stabilization, diagnosis and management of patients with traumatic injuries and illnesses as well as the management of less life-threatening problems that present to the emergency room. Physician Assistant student will develop skills in working with the pre-hospital emergency medical team and secondary referral systems.

PA 650/ PA 651   Clinical Practicum Electives I and II (2 credits each)
Four-week clinical rotation designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with an elective opportunity in any of the following disciplines: dermatology, gastroenterology, plastic surgery, cardiology, radiology, ENT, subspecialties in surgery, urology, gerontology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, and oncology or another area of interest to the student or to extend any of the required rotations. The student will be able to recognize conditions treatable by these specialties, so they can refer patients appropriately and/or work in a supportive role for such specialists.

PA 615   Professional Development Seminar I (1 credit)
Integrates concepts and knowledge gained from field experience rotations into the total learning process. Focus on patient and professional communication, various professional practice issues and topics, and lifelong learning. Other discussions on current issues included.

PA 625   Professional Development Seminar II (1 credit)
Integrates concepts and knowledge gained from field experience rotations into the total learning process. Focus on patient and professional communication, various professional practice issues and topics, and lifelong learning. Discussions on current clinical issues and student presentations on patient casework included.

PA 635 Professional Development Seminar III (1 credit)
Integrates concepts and knowledge gained from field experience rotations into the total learning process. Focus on patient and professional communication, various professional practice issues and 13 topics, and lifelong learning. Discussions on current clinical issues and student presentations on patient casework included.

PA 660  Introduction to the Master’s Capstone Project (1 credit)
Designed to allow PA students to conceptualize Master’s project to be completed in Summer Semester III.

PA 670   Capstone Master’s Project (3 credits)
Designed to allow PA students to complete a Master's degree project while under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Students will identify a health care topic/issue, conduct appropriate library research, develop a research paper, and make an oral presentation on their topic at the conclusion of their Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies curriculum. Students will be responsible for developing appropriate audiovisual, handouts, etc. for the oral presentation.

PA 671 Summative Evaluation (1 credit)
Assessment of cumulative knowledge gained from both didactic and clinical aspects of the Physician Assistant Studies Program to verify student preparation to enter clinical practice.

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