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Physician Assistant Course Descriptions

For complete course descriptions, please view our catalog.

PA601 - Human Anatomy

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the clinically relevant aspects of human anatomy with an in-depth examination of anatomical structure and function. Emphasis is placed on relationship of structure and normal variants with clinical correlation to pathology and disease presentation. The course includes an embryology component to aide students in understanding normal anatomical development and the congenital malformation. A cadaver lab with dissection focuses attention on spatial relationships, anatomic variation, embryological origin and relationships of organ systems.

PA602/604 - Physiology and Mechanisms of Disease I/II

A fundamental and integrated approach to human physiology with emphasis on the study of the body's functional system from a medical perspective. Normal physiology complexities will be emphasized at the cellular level in preparation for the Pathophysiology course to follow.

PA603 - Microbiology and Infectious Disease

This course will provide the student with advanced microbiology, virology and immunology to understand the complexities of infectious disease. Emphasis will be placed on clinically relevant pathogens, isolation and aseptic techniques, identification and treatment.

PA605 - Clinical Simulation Lab

This one unit lab will incorporate clinical simulation experiences from the medicine specialty courses taught in the final didactic semester, including OB/GYN, emergency medicine, and pediatrics.

PA606 - Summative Evaluation

The summative evaluation course contains the PA Program summative evaluation process for soon-to-be graduates.  There are four elements to this course.  All course elements must be completed satisfactorily in order to pass the course and be progressed to graduation.  These elements are: 1) an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE); 2) an oral "board-like" examination; 3) an on-line certification preparation examination, the ePACKRAT; 4) an oral presentation of a clinical case-based topic.

PA607 - Pre-Clinical Preparation

This course will incorporate discipline specific didactic and skills training during an intensive clinical preparatory period prior to the start of clinical rotations.  During the clinical preparation period, instruction will focus on training necessary for the clinical rotations student, including blood borne pathogens, patient privacy and discipline specific didactic and skills training.  Students will be videotaped in a mock clinical encounter.  The student will then be required to review and critique their own performance with feedback from faculty proctors.

PA608/609 - Pharmacology I/II

This is a two course series that focuses on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotherapeutic concepts in the major drug classifications. Problem solving is emphasized through case studies designed to highlight proper drug selection, interactions, physiological implications and administration. The second semester focuses on the clinical application of pharmacotherapeutics, drug interactions and contraindications. Problem solving continues through the introduction of case studies designed to integrate knowledge and application.

PA615 - Physical Diagnosis

This course focuses on the knowledge necessary to perform a complete physical examination, identify normal from abnormal findings, integrate the findings into a diagnosis and communicate the findings through a number of methods. Competence in examining the pediatric, geriatric and obstetric patient will be expected in addition to adults.

PA615L - Physical Diagnosis Laboratory

This laboratory course on the skills necessary to perform the complete physical examination, identify and perform the appropriate components for each problem oriented focused examination including special maneuvers.

PA617 - Interpersonal Communication

Personal and professional effectiveness training and communication skills building; includes role of the health professional as a team member, patient interviewing skills and the medical history, patient/provider relationships, cultural diversity, sexuality, values and coping skills.

PA620 - Medicine I

This is the first of a two semester course which focuses on the identification and treatment of medical conditions, syndromes and diseases encountered in the integumentary, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, neurologic, musculoskeletal, renal, biliary and hematopoietic systems. A case based approach is used to familiarize the physician assistant student with the variety of presentations seen and the treatment options available.

PA621 - Medicine II

This is the second of a two semester course which focuses on the identification and treatment of medical conditions, syndromes and diseases encountered in the integumentary, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, neurologic, musculoskeletal, renal, biliary and hematopoietic systems End of life and medical Issues unique to the elderly patient are discussed. A case based approach is used to familiarize the physician assistant student with the variety of presentations seen and the treatment options available.

PA622 - Pediatrics

This course uses a case based learning format to aid the students in understanding the physical and psychosocial fundamentals of normal growth and development., immunizations and health maintenance. In addition, it focuses on the presentation of major pediatric disorders and conditions, their signs and symptoms, diagnosis and management.

PA623 - Obstetrics and Gynecology

This one semester course provides the student with an overview of commonly encountered obstetric and gynecologic conditions in women's health care. Major topics include pregnancy and prenatal care, menopause, lactation, uterine and breast disorders, the menstrual cycle, its hormonal regulation and commonly encountered conditions.

PA624 - Geriatrics

This one semester course is designed to provide the physician assistant student with an understanding of medical problems of the elderly, including the changes commonly associated with aging. In addition, it focuses on the increased opportunity for undesirable drug interactions, multiorgan system failure, limitations in mobility and communication and other impairments.

PA625 - Surgery

This one semester course presents the fundamentals of surgical disease and care of the acute and/or chronic surgical patient. The focus is on the preparation of the student in the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestation, diagnosis and appropriate management of selected surgical conditions.

PA625L - Clinical Skills Laboratory

The laboratory course instructs the student in the performance of such skills as nasogastric and endotracheal intubation, thoracostomy, suturing, casting and splinting, aseptic surgical technique, intravenous line placement, obtaining arterial blood gases.

PA626 - Emergency Medicine

This one semester course focuses on the identification and diagnosis of the acutely ill or injured patient. Management of conditions commonly encountered in the emergency department are covered as are principles of trauma resuscitation. ACLS certification is required for completion of the course.

PA627 - Policies and Systems of US Healthcare

Issues of current health care policy with focus on the provision of care in the various delivery systems, reimbursement policies and their effect on physician assistant practice, and the economics of public and private financing.

PA628 - Diagnostic Imaging

Techniques of radiologic assessments will be emphasized in this laboratory course.  Principles of radiologic examination will be provided with a focus on identifying normal variants and common pathologies in various diagnostic imaging modalities such as x-ray, CT, MRI, and nuclear studies.

PA630 - PA History & Professional Issues

The course explores the factors affecting the development of the profession and the role of the PA in today's health care system. Emphasis is on credentialing, policies and regulations governing scope of practice, the development of professional organizations for physician assistants, and economics of light of health care delivery systems and policies past and present.

PA631 - Interpretation of Electrocardiograms

Techniques of electrocardiographic assessments will be emphasized in this laboratory course.  Principles of EKG examination will be provided with a focus on electrophysiology, identifying normal variants and common pathologies on electrocardiography, and diagnosis of cardiac disease.

PA646 - Behavioral Medicine

This course is designed to instruct the physician assistant student on major psychiatric and mental disorders. Included in the topics will be depression, anxiety, phobias, substance and eating disorders, somatiform, psychoses, neuroses and personality disorders.

PA660/661/662 - Integrating Seminar I/II/III

This three semester, small group experience provides the student with the opportunity to apply theory gained from lecture and laboratories to problems and cases designed to integrate knowledge and skills into evaluation, clinical problem solving, assessment and management of commonly encountered disorders.

PA680 - Family Medicine Clerkship

This internship experience emphasizes the outpatient evaluation and treatment of conditions commonly found at the primary care level in all age groups.

PA681 - Internal Medicine Clerkship

The student learns to apply basic medical knowledge to the problems and situations encountered on an inpatient service in addition to general internal medicine. By collecting history and physical exam information, formulating a complete problem list, participating in daily rounds and in the management of patient problems, the student develops an awareness of the complexity of disease processes and differential diagnosis.

PA682 - General Surgery Clerkship

This rotation emphasizes preoperative evaluation and preparatory procedures, assisting at the operating table, and management of patients through the peritoperative period to discharge. Surgical clerkships can be completed in a variety of settings, including major academic hospitals, community hospitals and small private practices.

PA683 - Pediatric Clerkship

In this rotation, the student is assigned to either an institutional setting or a community-based pediatric site. Special emphasis is placed on communication skills and relating sensitively to both children and parents. The student gains familiarity with normal growth and development, pediatric preventive medicine and evaluation and management of common childhood illnesses.

PA684 - Geriatric Clerkship

In this rotation, the student is assigned to an institution caring for the geriatric patient. Special emphasis is placed on the identification, and management of common problems in the elderly population.

PA685 - Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship

The student learns about common gynecological problems, pregnancy and prenatal care. The rotation emphasizes clinical experience with abnormal menstruation and bleeding, infections and contraception counseling.

PA686 - Emergency Medicine Clerkship

This rotation stresses the evaluation and management of problems of the patient presenting to the emergency department. The student gains experience in the initial evaluation of potential life-threatening conditions and in performing problem-specific examinations and procedures. This rotation takes place in community hospital emergency departments as well as major trauma centers.

PA687 - Elective Clerkship I

This is the first of two four-week rotations designed to enhance the students' knowledge in a disciplinary area of their choosing. Students may repeat a rotation of particular interest to them or explore a medical or surgical specialty.

PA688 - Elective Clerkship II

This is the second of two four-week rotations designed to enhance the students' knowledge in a disciplinary area of their choosing. Students may repeat a rotation of particular interest to them or explore a medical or surgical specialty. This final elective may serve as a bridge to employment.

PA690 - Introduction to Evidence Based Practice

This course introduces students to evidence based medical practice, including the philosophy and principles of scientific methods of inquiry.  topics include library resources, conducting a search for medical literature, interpretation and critical evaluation of medical literature; NIH training modules including IRB training and human subjects research.  Students will have the opportunity to evaluate current literature from the medical journals in light of research design and data collection.