Physican Assistant Studies (MS-PAS)

PA1

Pending SACSCOC Accreditation

 

Allied Health careers are rapidly expanding in the United States and in Alabama. According to current estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 16 of the top 30 fastest growing occupations are in health-related fields. Specifically, Physician Assistant employment is expected to grow five times faster than average through 2026, with a national employment change of 37.3%.

There are projected to be over 39,000 new jobs for Physician Assistants (PAs) over the next ten years. And, in 2018,  the median annual salary was $108,610 and is expected to continue to increase! (BLS Employment Projections.) Likewise, Alabama data indicates a comparable growth rate (36.7%) for PAs. (Alabama Rate of Job Growth.)

The vision of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies is to earn a reputation as one of the leading contributors to the field of healthcare by graduating outstanding Physician Assistants, developing distinguished faculty members, and serving the local community by providing increased access to quality medical providers.

The mission of the Faulkner University Physician Assistant program is to train competent and caring medical professionals, in a Christian environment, to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals in the communities where they live and work.

In order to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision, the PAS program has set the following goals:

1. Prepare students to become clinicians with the knowledge and skills to competently manage diverse patient populations.

2. Instill an appreciation of and desire for lifelong learning.

3. Teach students to apply the principles of evidenced-based medicine to every patient.

4. Train and graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) at or above the national average.

5. Produce competent practitioners, as evidenced by an employment rate within one year of graduation above 90%.

Prerequisites

  1. The following prerequisites are minimums and must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States within ten years of matriculation:
    • 8 semester hours of general biology for science majors (lab preferred)
    • 3-4 semester hours of microbiology (lab preferred)
    • 6-8 semester hours of vertebrate anatomy and physiology
    • 8 semester hours of general chemistry for science majors (lab preferred)
    • 3 semester hours of statistics
    • 6 semester hours of psychology (general; plus abnormal or developmental)
  2. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university in the US.
  3. GRE or MCAT scores
  4. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (A=4.0)
  5. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in prerequisite courses, with at least a C (2.0) in each.
  6. Technical ability to complete the program (PAEA Competencies and “Technical [Performance] Standards”)

Application and Admission Requirements

All Physician Assistant prospective students must apply through CASPA and Faulkner University. ($75 fee)

-Letter of introduction

-Academic transcript(s) including evidence of an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution

-The following prerequisites are minimums and must be completed at a regionally

 accredited institution in the United States within ten years of matriculation:

  • 8 semester hours of general biology for science majors (lab preferred)
  • 3-4 semester hours of microbiology (lab preferred)
  • 6-8 semester hours of vertebrate anatomy and physiology
  • 8 semester hours of general chemistry for science majors (lab preferred)
  • 3 semester hours of statistics
  • 6 semester hours of psychology (general; plus abnormal or developmental)

-Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher

-Competitive GRE score – usually determined by the scores of the application cohort

-Three letters of recommendation;

-Technical ability to complete the program (See Physician Assistant Education Association

 (PAEA) Competencies and “Technical [Performance] Standards”)

Accreditation

The College of Health Sciences at Faulkner University has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The College of Health Sciences at Faulkner University anticipates matriculating its first class in October 2020, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the June 2020 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Curriculum

MS Degree Plan

Students will complete the program with their cohort in the following sequence:

 

Semester 1

 

PAS 5102

Introduction to PA Practice

1 Unit

PAS 5103

Bioethics

1 Unit

PAS 5104

Medical Communications

1 Unit

PAS 5205

Biostatistics and Evidence Based Medicine

2 Units

PAS 5106

Introduction to Pharmacology

1 Unit

PAS 5500

Human Anatomy with Lab (3:4)

5 Units

PAS 5401

Medical Physiology with Lab (3:2)

4 Units

 

Semester 2

 

PAS 5510

Clinical Medicine I

5 Units

PAS 5311

Physical Examination I with Lab (2:4)

3 Units

PAS 5212

Clinical Skills and Procedures I

2 Units

PAS 5314

Pharmacology I

3 Units

PAS 5117

Introduction to Pediatrics

1 Units

PAS 5118

Introduction to Surgery

1 Unit

 

Semester 3

 

PAS 5520

Clinical Medicine II

5 Units

PAS 5321

Physical Examination II with Lab (2:4)

3 Units

PAS 5222

Clinical Skills and Procedures II

2 Units

PAS 5324

Pharmacology II

3 Units

PAS 5127

Introduction to Emergency Medicine

1 Units

PAS 5128

Geriatric Medicine

1 Unit

 

Semester 4

 

PAS 5530

Clinical Medicine III

5 Units

PAS 5331

Physical Examination III with Lab (2:4)

3 Units

PAS 5232

Clinical Skills and Procedures III

2 Units

PAS 5334

Pharmacology III

3 Units

PAS 5235

Research Methods

2 Units

 

Semester 5,6,7 (Clinical Rotations)

 

PAS 6310

Elective

3 Units

PAS 6308

Women’s Health

3 Units

PAS 6309

Behavioral and Mental Health

3 Units

PAS 6601

Pediatrics

6 Units

PAS 6602

Family Medicine

6 Units

PAS 6603

Internal Medicine

6 Units

PAS 6604

General Surgery

6 Units

PAS 6605

Emergency Medicine

6 Units

PAS 6606

Urgent Care

6 Units

 

Total

105 Units

Course Descriptions:

PAS 5102 Introduction to PA Practice (1 Unit)

This course will provide the student with an introduction to the profession of Physician Assistant, including its history and development and possible future directions. The role of the PA across all aspects of medicine will be discussed with an emphasis on primary care. This course will also address how the PA fits into the healthcare team and explore various practice settings. Important issues, such as licensing, credentialing, insurance, and legal and legislative, will also be explored.

PAS 5103 Bioethics (1 Unit)

This course examines both Christian and secular principles and approaches to bioethical issues faced by the physician assistant.  Students will, using case based scenarios, discuss and debate multiple ethical issues including provider-patient relationships, beginning of life, end of life, and foregoing medical care.  Students will also consider established bioethical codes as they begin to form and develop a personal bioethical code.

PAS 5104 Medical Communications (1 Unit)

This course is designed to introduce students to the art of medical history-taking and offers practical strategies for effective, patient-centered interpersonal communication. Learners will be instructed in the appropriate formats for documentation of patient history as well as techniques to enhance the effectiveness of both history-taking and patient education.

PAS 5205 Biostatistics and Evidence Based Medicine (2 Units)

This course is designed to access, and critically interpret, medical literature. As lifelong learners, Pas must be able to locate, understand and apply concepts derived from the medical literature as they relate to the treatment of their patients. The students should learn to differentiate between statistical and clinical significance as they focus on an evidence-based approach to interpreting medical literature.  This course will evaluate basic biostatistical methods and formulae.

PAS 5106 Introduction to Pharmacology (1 Unit)

This course introduces the pharmacologic principles and concepts which are essential for making sound pharmacotherapeutic decisions. This course covers pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism, and pharmacogenetics, as well as an introduction of the general classification of medications.

PAS 5500 Human Anatomy with Lab (5 Units)

This is a systems-based course that will emphasize the application of anatomical knowledge to clinical practice.  This course covers gross anatomy while demonstrating the design inherent in the human body and how alterations from the norm can affect function. Structure-function relationships will be explored at multiple levels of organization, specifically, cell, tissue, organ, and systems.

PAS 5401 Medical Physiology with Lab (4 Units)

This is a systems-based course that will emphasize the application of knowledge of human physiology to clinical practice.  This course covers system structure and function while demonstrating the design inherent within cells and systems and how alterations from the norm can affect function. 

PAS 5510 Clinical Medicine I (5 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students clinical medicine in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The course will be primarily lecture based and supplemented by case discussions. Information will be presented in organ system-based sequences that will include the mechanism, clinical presentation, and approach to diagnosis of disease as well as health promotion.

PAS 5311 Physical Examination I with Lab (3 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students the techniques to obtain a pertinent history and perform an appropriate physical examination in complement to the information learned in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5212 Clinical Skills and Procedures I (2 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students foundational knowledge in clinical diagnostic skills that prepare the student for required responsibilities in patient care. Course content includes clinical, laboratory, and basic surgical techniques required in primary care. Students learn best practice approaches to caring for patients and guidelines for preventive care and disease screening.

PAS 5314 Pharmacology I (3 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students appropriate pharmacotherapeutics in an organ systems-based approach that complements the sequencing in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5117 Introduction to Pediatrics (1 Units)

This course is designed to introduce students to pediatric care by providing an overview of specific illnesses, diagnostic tests, terminology and treatment in this special population while emphasizing the role of the PA in a general pediatric practice. The course will explore normal growth and development and immunization recommendations and, also, provide an overview of the similarities and differences between pediatric and adult populations.

PAS 5118 Introduction to Surgery (1 Unit)

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of surgery and studies major and minor surgical conditions with an emphasis on indications for surgical intervention. Management of patients through the pre-, intra-, and post-operative stages in both ambulatory and inpatient settings will be discussed.

PAS 5520 Clinical Medicine II (5 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students clinical medicine in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The course will be primarily lecture based and supplemented by case discussions. Information will be presented in organ system-based sequences that will include the mechanism, clinical presentation, and approach to diagnosis of disease as well as health promotion.

PAS 5321 Physical Examination II with Lab (3 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students the techniques to obtain a pertinent history and perform an appropriate physical examination in complement to the information learned in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5222 Clinical Skills and Procedures II (2 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students foundational knowledge in clinical diagnostic skills that prepare the student for required responsibilities in patient care. Course content includes clinical, laboratory, and basic surgical techniques required in primary care. Students learn best practice approaches to caring for patients and guidelines for preventive care and disease screening.

PAS 5324 Pharmacology II (3 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students appropriate pharmacotherapeutics in an organ systems-based approach that complements the sequencing in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5127 Introduction to Emergency Medicine (1 Units)

This course explores various types of urgent and emergent conditions across the lifespan that present in an emergency medicine setting. Students are prepared to triage, stabilize, evaluate, treat, and monitor such conditions. Disposition of patients, including admission criteria, referrals, and specialty consultations, will also be discussed.

PAS 5128 Geriatric Medicine (1 Unit)

This course will focus on issues specific to geriatrics, examining the similarities and, primarily, the differences inherent to this population. The process of death and dying and end of life issues will be discussed.

PAS 5530 Clinical Medicine III (5 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students clinical medicine in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The course will be primarily lecture based and supplemented by case discussions. Information will be presented in organ system-based sequences that will include the mechanism, clinical presentation, and approach to diagnosis of disease as well as health promotion.

PAS 5331 Physical Examination III with Lab (3 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students the techniques to obtain a pertinent history and perform an appropriate physical examination in complement to the information learned in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5232 Clinical Skills and Procedures III (2 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students foundational knowledge in clinical diagnostic skills that prepare the student for required responsibilities in patient care. Course content includes clinical, laboratory, and basic surgical techniques required in primary care. Students learn best practice approaches to caring for patients and guidelines for preventive care and disease screening.

PAS 5334 Pharmacology III (3 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students appropriate pharmacotherapeutics in an organ systems-based approach that complements the sequencing in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5235 Research Methods (2 Units)

This course is designed to introduce students to methods, and areas need, in research to improve delivery of care and/or patient outcomes and to foster an interest in promoting Physician Assistant scholarship.

PAS 6310 Elective (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience designed to allow students to explore new areas of PA practice or reinforce and strengthen areas of perceived deficits. Students may also choose to utilize the elective rotation to evaluate, and be evaluated by, a potential employer.

PAS 6308 Women’s Health (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience in women’s health including prenatal and gynecologic care in various clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6309 Behavioral and Mental Health (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience in behavioral and mental health in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

 

PAS 6601 Pediatrics (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in general pediatric care providing exposure to patients across the lifespan of infant, children, and adolescents. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

 

PAS 6602 Family Medicine (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in family medicine and is designed to provide exposures to patients across the lifespan of infant, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6603 Internal Medicine (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in internal medicine and is designed to provide exposures to patients across the lifespan of adults and elderly. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6604 General Surgery (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in general surgery and is designed to provide exposures to patients across the lifespan and include management of pre-, intra-, and post-operative issues. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6605 Emergency Medicine (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in emergency medicine and is designed to provide exposures to patients across the lifespan and include management of urgent and emergent issues. Unique opportunities to be an integral part of a multidisciplinary team are expected. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6606 Urgent Care (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in an urgent care setting and is designed to provide exposures to patients across the lifespan and to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

Technical Standards

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS) is designed to provide comprehensive knowledge and skills to allow the graduate to enter into a practice environment equipped to be an effective health care provider. In order to achieve this goal, students must possess and exhibit emotional, physical, and cognitive capabilities to complete this rigorous program. Faulkner University is committed to providing the necessary accommodations to prepare students from both didactic and clinical aspects. The faculty of the MS-PAS program has identified the following minimal technical standards that are required to complete the program:

Critical Thinking: Students must exhibit the mental capacity to assimilate, analyze, synthesize and integrate concepts and apply problem solving skills to formulate assessments and create treatment plans.

Communication Skills: Students must exhibit both oral and written abilities that allow for clear, concise and effective communication with patients and colleagues.

Sensory and Observational Skills: Students must possess visual, auditory, tactile and other sensory abilities sufficient to allow them to observe classroom demonstrations, participate in technical procedures and elicit accurate patient information to formulate correct diagnoses and treatment plans.

Motor Skills: Students must exhibit the gross and fine motor skills needed to execute the technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery. They must be able to calibrate and use equipment, maneuver in restricted spaces, and move and position patients.

Interpersonal Skills: Professionalism is a core competency for Physician Assistants, therefore students must possess a wide range of interpersonal skills. These include:

  • maintain the emotional health required to manage high stress situations while simultaneously displaying full intellectual abilities;
  • have an ability to exercise good judgement;
  • possess excellent time management skills (arrive on time, start and finish tasks on time);
  • exhibit a propensity to complete all assigned patient care responsibilities in a timely manner;
  • have the capacity to develop mature, compassionate and effective relationships with colleagues, faculty, staff, patients and their families;
  • cultivate an ability to recognize and channel one’s own emotional states in a way that allows you to engage with others in a constructive way;
  • be a team player.