Physician Assistant Program
PA Didactic Course Descriptions
[5 Credits] A lecture and laboratory course which focuses on cell, tissue, organ and body system structures, and human cadaver dissection with emphasis on structure and function of neuromuscular and skeletal systems.
[4 Credits] A lecture and laboratory course that focuses on the physiology of cell, tissue, organ, and body systems with emphasis on physiological changes associated with selected pathological conditions. Laboratory demonstrations focus on observation and measurement of function in the body systems.
[3 Credits] This is lecture-based course designed to introduce the entry-level physician assistant student to human disease processes, their origins, mechanisms of action and effects on the human body with emphasis on the clinical manifestations of the disease process. The course will give students the opportunity to analyze the pathological conditions of normal physiology, to relate patients presenting signs and symptoms to a pathologic condition and to develop techniques to counsel patients on modifiable risk factors for disease processes.
[3 credits] The course will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with psychiatric conditions within the broader context of primary care medicine. The course will emphasize the connection between the acquisition of basic clinical science information and its application in direct patient care. The most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association will be used to introduce the student to the classification of psychiatric disorders and the multi-axial approach to the assessment of the patient.
[5 credits] This course will be taken as an interdisciplinary course with graduate students in Pharmacology. Medicinal Pharmacology for the Physician Assistant is a course where the student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to: identify the classes of drugs used to treat diseases commonly encountered in primary care setting; identify classes of drugs commonly used to manage emergent conditions; recognize the prototype and commonly used drugs in each class; identify the basic pharmacodynamic properties of each class of drugs and the mechanism of action and important consequences of using each class of drugs; recognize the signs and symptoms of common adverse effects and of possible toxic or life-threatening effects; identify precautions or contraindications to the use of a drug; identify significant drug-drug interactions; recognize the importance of patient education in determining compliance, avoidance of potential problems, and success of therapy; apply previously acquired statistical and critical thinking skills to evaluate literature data; use resource materials for determining proper usage of chemotherapeutic agents; and understand the role of the physician assistant in writing prescriptions.
[2 credits] The student will be given the opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of: 1) the role of the physician assistant in health care delivery and the scope of PA practice; 2) health law; 3) physician assistant profession and its history; and 4) ethical dimensions of health care. The course will also emphasize the PA’s role in health care delivery as a member of an interdisciplinary team.
[3 credits] Patient Evaluation is a lecture/lab course designed to give the entry-level physician assistant student in-depth instruction in the appropriate techniques of soliciting, organizing and interpreting of patient-specific medical information from patients of all ages, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities. The laboratory portion of the course will allow the participants to practice and refine the skills presented in the didactic portion of the course.
The student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to communicate skillfully with patients using appropriate interviewing techniques and to elicit a thorough medical history.
[4 credits] Physical Diagnosis is a lecture/lab course designed to build upon the skills developed in Patient Evaluation. The student will receive instruction in proper performance of a comprehensive screening physical examination. Instruction will be given in physical exam skills appropriate for persons across all life spans and will include instruction in legal, ethical and cultural considerations associated with physical examination of patients. The student will be required to participate in the laboratory portion of the course, where physician assistant instructors will offer hands-on demonstrations of proper physical exam techniques. The students will be paired with peers to practice and develop physical exam skills. The course will culminate in a practical exam in which the student will perform the entire screening physical exam in a predetermined time frame.
[3 Credits] Clinical Ethics is a lecture-based course designed to introduce the entry-level physician assistant student to ethical dilemmas encountered in clinical practice. The course will be structured such that the student will upon completion of the course, be able to identify, analyze and develop a plan to resolve common ethical dilemmas. The course will include instruction in the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, loyalty, and fairness. Students will examine their role as health care provider in relation to confidentiality, informed consent, end-of-life issues and patients’ rights. The students will also be introduced to the ethics of clinical research, and the legal aspects of participating in clinical research.
[3 Credits] Clinical Genetics is a lecture-based course designed to provide the entry-level physician assistant student with a basic understanding of medical genetics so that they can begin the process of developing into a knowledgeable, competent, healthcare practitioner. The course will review basic molecular genetics, molecular terminology and inheritance patterns. The student will receive instruction in various diagnostic techniques associated with medical genetics. Development and teratogenesis will also be covered. The remainder of the course will be focused on the identification of select clinical genetic topics, their clinical presentations, treatment options and any ethical issues associated with the manifestation or treatment of the disorder. Included will be instruction pertaining to the ethical, legal and social issues of select genetic disorders.
[3 credits] Health Promotion and Disease prevention is a lecture-based course in which the student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to: apply practical knowledge concerning the practice of preventive medicine; identify resources that provide preventive and community health services; identify reliable Internet and other sources of information; utilize sources of information pertaining to legal regulations on reportable diseases or health hazards; and apply these and other acquired skills in the education of patients concerning medical, psychological, surgical, and terminal illnesses.
[7 credits] Clinical Medicine I is a lecture/lab course designed to build upon the skills developed in Patient Evaluation and Physical Diagnosis, Differential Diagnosis and the basic sciences. This course covers the principles of evaluation and management of general medical conditions in a systems based-approach. Lecture, case studies, small-group discussions and independent studies are used to incorporate pre-requisite and co-requisite knowledge of pathophysiology, patient evaluation and diagnostic medicine in order to reach appropriate patient assessments. This course is designed specifically to prepare the student for supervised clinical practice. The course will utilize a system based approach to clinical problem solving. The student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to: 1) recognize and understand clinical signs and symptoms of diseases; 2) interpret results obtained by analysis of body tissues and fluids; 3) interpret basic radiographic procedures; and 4) utilize clinical data in the management of medical problems.
[8 credits] This course is a continuation of Clinical Medicine I. This course is designed specifically to prepare the student for supervised clinical practice, and is a continuation of Clinical Medicine I for the Physician Assistant. In this course, the student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to: recognize and understand clinical signs and symptoms of diseases; interpret results obtained by analysis of body tissues and fluids; interpret basic radiographic procedures; and utilize clinical data in the management of medical problems. Problem-based learning techniques will be used in the laboratory portion of the course to assist the student in the refinement of clinical problem solving skills.
[3 credits] Culture and Diversity is a lecture-based course designed to increase the physician assistant student's awareness of the complexities of providing healthcare to persons from diverse cultural backgrounds. This course will explore various cultural healing practices and encourage students to explore their own cultural experiences and bias. The goal of this course is to explore cultural diversity and the challenges presented to the healthcare professional and to increase the cultural competency of the developing physician assistant.
[3 Credits] Clinical Diagnostics is a lecture course with three components: radiologic study ordering and interpretation, ECG ordering and interpretation, and laboratory study ordering, and interpretation. This course provides skills in ordering and interpreting lab values from chemistry, hematology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, virology, genetics, and mycology testing. Basic ECG and x-ray interpretation skills are introduced in preparation for clinical externships.
[3 credits]Differential Diagnosis is a lecture-based course designed to build upon the skills developed in Patient Evaluation and Physical Diagnosis. The course will provide instruction in the development of a thorough, patient appropriate differential diagnosis. Medical decision making based on anatomy, physiology, pathology and the history and clinical presentation will be stressed. Students will be challenged to develop critical thinking skills using case-studies based on actual patient presentations.
[2 credits] the course is a lecture-based course designed to introduce the entry-level physician assistant student to basic research techniques. The course will focus on developing proficiency in searching and interpretation of current medical literature. This course is the first course in the preparation of the student for the capstone project. All students will be assigned a faculty mentor to guide their progress through research skill development. The goals of the course are to equip the student with the skills needed to assess the literature for evidence-based information, to develop medical writing skills and to develop lifelong practices of critical analysis of the medical literature for evidence-based treatment practices.
[2 credits] Research Methods for the Physician Assistant II is a lecture-based course designed to continue the entry-level physician assistant student's proficiency in research. This course will further refine skills in literature analysis and the formatting of conclusions for the evidence-based practice of evaluation and management of disease process. Upon completion of this course, the student will produce a complete literature review for the capstone project.