Students Graduate from PA Program
August 9, 2011 - by Callie Livengood
The students in the University of Mount Union’s inaugural physician assistant studies class celebrated their graduate education on Friday at the InterContinental Cleveland, located on the campus of Cleveland Clinic.
The 19 students and their families as well as physician assistant studies faculty members from Mount Union were in attendance to reflect and commemorate their successful completion of 27 months of coursework and clinicals.
“I’m very proud to stand here today and call each and every one of you my colleagues,” said Sharon Luke, program director of Mount Union’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, during the graduation celebration. “Because as of today, I’m Sharon again – I’m not Professor Luke to you anymore. And, I’m OK with that because it’s good for me to see students graduate.”
According to Luke, students can take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), a computer-based, multiple-choice test comprising questions that assess basic medical and surgical knowledge, in one week. Students must pass the test in order to become certified physician assistants. She also added that more than half of the students in the graduating class have already secured employment while the others are waiting to pass the exam before beginning their job searches.
During the celebration two students were recognized for their induction into Pi Alpha, a national honor society for physician assistants – Carri Meiler and Jensen Lewis. The society is organized for the promotion and recognition of significant academic achievement, leadership, research, community service and professional service, and the encouragement of a high standard of character and conduct among both physician assistant student and graduates.
About the Physician Assistant Studies Program
The Physician Assistant Studies Program at Mount Union is the University’s first master’s level program in nearly a century. The program, which began in May of 2009, offers a curriculum rich in biomedical and clinical preparatory sciences and develops the medical decision-making and problem-solving skills that may be applied to patient situations encountered in clinical practice. The role of a physician assistant in medical practice is to be a caring, compassionate advocate for the patient and to spend more time with the patient than the physician can in providing patient education. Students within the program will earn a master of science degree after successful completion of 27 months of coursework and clinicals.
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