Courses

Physician Assistant Courses in the Three-Year BS/MS Physician Assistant Program

PA411E    Medical Sciences I.          Zero units or zero credits
The purpose of this course is to integrate the principles of human anatomy and physiology into the study of medicine.  Instruction is provided regarding human anatomical structures and their intercommunication and relevance to the various systems.  Physiologic principles, concepts, and formulas are related to the changes of disease processes.  The course outline is reflective of the systems of the human body, and the content serves as the foundation for an understanding of the effects of disease and disease prevention. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA411       Medical Sciences I.          1 unit or 4 credits
This course is identical to that described for 411E but counts as one unit or 4 credits towards the BS/MS degree.

PA412       Medical Sciences II.          1 unit or 4 credits
This course provides an in-depth understanding of disease states through the integration of principles of pathology, microbiology, and clinical applicability of diagnostic tests.  Anatomical and physiological principles are reviewed and integrated into an understanding of disease processes and the clinical applicability of pathological findings.  Microorganisms are presented by classifications and in relation to specific systems.  Diagnostic tests are identified in relation to physiological systems and disease processes.  Discussions focus on characteristic or pathognomonic findings as well as findings that direct work-up, therapy, or follow-up. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA415       Behavioral Sciences I.       0.5 unit or 2 credits
The purpose of this course is for the student to develop an understanding of the psychological and ethical factors affecting human development and to distinguish among them as they pertain to various clinical issues such as death and dying, human sexuality, chronic illness, and the emotional issues of daily living.  This course also provides an opportunity for the student to learn to integrate the concepts of health promotion and preventive measures into the practice of medicine. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA416       Clinical Preparatory Science I.              1 unit or 4 credits
The purpose of this course is to promote the skills of clinical assessment and diagnosis.  The knowledge gained in the medical sciences is utilized to promote the assessment of clinical scenarios.  The student develops interview skills, examination techniques, and integrates knowledge of various disciplines to construct differential diagnosis.  The student learns appropriate clinical work-up and when to order tests.  The student also learns to correlate test results with clinical management. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA417       Primary Care and Pharmacotherapeutics I.    1 unit or 4 credits
The purpose of this course is to serve as an introduction to clinical medicine by focusing on the commonly encountered problems in primary care.  The student reviews disease processes from a clinical perspective and learns to approach the evaluation of the patient in a comprehensive manner.  Topics include the dermatologic issues encountered in primary care, common ophthalmologic disorders and the common issues leading to psychiatric referral.  Through lectures and discussions, the student formulates a knowledge base of signs and symptoms, etiologies, and management options.  Drug therapies are reviewed by classes and in relation to their applicability to systems.  Information is provided regarding indications, mechanisms of action, contraindications, and adverse effects.  The course includes EKG and ABG workshops with sessions dedicated to the interpretation of twelve lead strips and arterial blood gases.  The knowledge gained is enhanced through case studies and integrated into the practice of primary care medicine. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA419       Professionalism and Ethics I.                 0.5 unit or 2 credits
The purpose of this course is to integrate the principles of professionalism and ethics into the clinical practice of the physician assistant.  The course is a general overview of the role of the physician assistant with emphasis on the principles of ethics and professionalism and their integration into modern medicine.  Introduction to the history of the profession leads to discussions of issues such as managed healthcare initiatives, documentation, quality improvement, and billing and coding.  The course also provides students with instruction regarding basic clinical skills required of the professional physician assistant.  Opportunity is provided for hands-on practice and instruction on models and patients. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA421       Emergency and Surgical Medicine        1 unit or 4 credits
The purposes of this course are to provide students with instruction regarding recognition and management of the surgical patient, as well as instruction regarding rapid and efficient management of the trauma or emergent patient.  Review of surgical cases includes breakdown of disease states by presentation, history, and physical examination pearls, work-up, surgical intervention, and post-surgical management.  Discussion of emergency medicine cases focuses on the consideration of patient status in an effort to effectively triage emergent patients.  Students learn to design a personal method of rapid assessment and management for the critical patient in the emergency department setting.  The course includes a radiology workshop to generate a basis for the recognition of and differentiation between the normal and abnormal radiographic findings. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA422       General Medicine            1 unit or 4 credits
The purpose of this course is to provide the physician assistant with a broad-based fund of knowledge of general medicine.  The course encompasses an overview of internal medicine and its various subtopics; the course outline is reflective of the systemic overview.  Its intent is to enable the student to transition from the acquisition of didactic medical and clinical, scientific knowledge to its incorporation into the clinical setting. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA423       Maternal and Child Health.       0.5 units or 2 credits
This course familiarizes the student with conditions specific to maternal-child medicine.  Lectures and case studies are provided on the diagnostic, therapeutic, and counseling techniques aimed at managing the sensitive issues in both the obstetrical and gynecological patient, familiarizing the student with conditions specific to the pediatric patient.  Students recognize the need to counsel both parent and child, and to integrate special techniques, including monitoring confidentiality. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)
 
PA424       Primary Care and Pharmacotherapeutics II.   1 unit or 4 credits
The purpose of this course is to focus on the commonly encountered problems in primary care medicine.  The physician assistant student reviews disease processes from a clinical perspective, learns to approach the evaluation of the patient in a comprehensive manner, and becomes familiar with the sensitive issues specific to the geriatric patient.  Through lectures and discussion, the student formulates a knowledge base of signs and symptoms, etiologies and management options.  Drug therapies are reviewed by classes and in relation to their applicability to major systems, with information provided regarding indications, mechanisms of actions, contraindications, and adverse events. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the first professional year.)

PA431E    Medical Clinical Practice I.        Zero units or zero credits
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings.  Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services.  Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)

PA431       Medical Clinical Practice I.        1.5 units or 6 credits
This course is identical to that described for 431E but counts as 1.5 units or 6 credits towards the BS/MS degree.

PA432       Medical Clinical Practice II.       1.5 units or 6 credits
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings.  Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services.  Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)

PA434       Medical Clinical Practice III.     1.5 units or 6 credits
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings.  Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services.  Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)

PA442       Medical Clinical Practice IV.     1.5 units or 6 credits
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings. Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services. Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)

PA501    The Art and Practice of Health Education.     1 undergraduate unit or 4 graduate credits
This course introduces the future healthcare practitioner to the philosophies of health education. It identifies the key elements needed for an effective healthcare teaching approach and focuses on developing the skills for optimizing patient counseling and education. Each student is guided through the design of presentations reflective of community health medicine, the student’s interest and current healthcare practices.  The student also begins to develop a personal professional portfolio reflective of personal accomplishments. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)

PA503       Leadership Development and Professionalism.      1 undergraduate unit or 4 graduate credits
This course explores the opportunities for leadership in the healthcare delivery system.  The course reviews the legal foundation of the physician assistant's scope of practice, legislative agenda for the physician assistant profession, professional practice opportunities, performance improvement principles, and the administrative systems providing the framework for the modern healthcare delivery system.  The most current issues in health care, such as patient safety, form a foundation for analyzing the successes and failures of the healthcare delivery model.  An interactive approach to exploring the material is supplemented by guest lecturers from the field and peer-reviewed journal research and critiques.  Experiential learning is optimized by participation in research and the development of a quality improvement project. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)

PA504       Medical Literature Review and Analysis      1 undergraduate unit or 4 graduate credits
This course provides the physician assistant student with the skills for effective review and analysis of the expanse of medical literature and introduces the student to the process of developing a research proposal. Students presented with diverse medical literature are taught to evaluate applicability, and develop a systematic critique of findings. Statistical methods are introduced and the ability to analyze data and draw inferences is developed. The selection of the medical literature for review and analysis is reflective of each student’s area of interest for future research. Experiential learning is emphasized through the designing of a research study and culminates with a presentation of the research proposal to the college HERB or hospital IRB (Institutional Review Board) for approval.   (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)
 
PA514E    Advanced Health Assessment.   Zero credits
The purpose of this course is to develop clinical judgment skills. This course will reinforce academic knowledge and enhance professional, ethical behavior.   The course will emphasize patient evaluation, diagnosis and management skills. Academic topics will be correlated to the seven required supervised clinical experiences and problem solving sessions will be utilized for the assessment of clinical case scenarios.  Clinical procedures and suturing skills will be reinforced via practical sessions. Clinical relevance will be enhanced through exposure to various clinical settings and the correlation of cases to the upcoming supervised clinical experiences. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the second professional year.)
 
PA514       Advanced Health Assessment.   1 undergraduate unit or 4 graduate credits
This course is identical to that described for 514E but counts as 1 undergraduate unit or 4 graduate credits towards the BS/MS degree.

PA543       Medical Clinical Practice V.       1.5 undergraduate units or 6 graduate credits
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings.  Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services.  Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)

PA533E    Medical Clinical Practice VI.     Zero undergraduate units or zero graduate credits
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings.  Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services.  Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)

PA533       Medical Clinical Practice VI.     1.5 undergraduate units or 6 graduate credits
This course is identical to that described for 533E but counts as 1.5 undergraduate units or six graduate credits towards the BS/MS degree.

PA541    Medical Clinical Practice VII.       1.5 undergraduate units or 6 graduate credits.
This course is an eight-week, supervised clinical experience dedicated to a specific area or discipline of clinical medicine.  Clinical interactions take place in the outpatient ambulatory, inpatient hospital, long-term care and emergency room settings.  Rotations are intensive, supervised, hands-on learning experiences in the various medical and surgical areas; they emphasize the provision of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services.  Each clinical rotation is dedicated to one of the following:  general medicine and long-term care, emergency medicine, primary care I, primary care II, pediatrics (general pediatrics, neonatal intensive care), women's health (obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent medicine), and surgery (general surgery, surgical subspecialties). (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)

PA612       Critical Thinking in Medicine.         4 graduate credits
The purpose of this course is to review and expand upon the physician assistant's knowledge of disease pathology and therapeutic intervention.  The emphasis is on critical thinking and its applicability to the identification of the pathogenesis of disease processes and the development of algorithms, flow charts, and decision trees.  Through critical analysis, the student develops appropriate management plans, based on the needs of specific individuals and communities. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)
 
PA651       Health Care Management Theory and Evaluation      4 graduate credits
This course introduces the student to the schools of thought of healthcare leadership and management theorists and practitioners in health care. Evaluation of theories are based on clinical case studies, discussions of readings and review of the medical literature. Experiential learning is emphasized through the development of clinical interview skills, and assessment of scenarios in healthcare settings. The course culminates with an interactive Clinical Practicum assessing the incorporation of leadership skills and professional behaviors with clinical knowledge. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)

PA630       Clerkship I: Developing Community Health.               6 graduate credits
The focus of this course is to precept physician assistant students in their transition towards becoming advanced mid-level providers or healthcare. Each student identifies a component or area of health care interest that impacts health care and affords a broad exposure of clinical experiences. Through clinical involvement, the student leans to discern specific health needs and is guided and advised through the development of a clinical experience reflective of the assessed needs.   (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)

PA645       Clerkship II: Advanced Procedures and Skills.           6 graduate credits
The focus of this clerkship is to precept physician assistant students through the acquisition of advanced skills for clinical practice in primary care or a specialty area of interest. The student is provided with an opportunity for an in-depth analysis of clinical practice in his/her specific area of interest. Skills development focuses on the areas identified during the pre-clerkship advisement session and the development of personalized clinical objectives. The student learns through the development of a clinical project reflective of the unique characteristics of the clerkship. (Offered only to physician assistant majors during the third professional year.)

PA790       Research Design              4 graduate credits
The purpose of this course is to establish the groundwork for a research thesis project.  The student is provided the opportunity to construct implement a research project reflective of a research problem and hypothesis. Relevant medical literature is evaluated, and data analysis.  The course offers students the knowledge and skills needed for instrument design and development.  Seminar sessions are dedicated to the scoring and interpretation of the data collected through various measurement tools.  All proposals require the hospital’s Internal Review Board or the college’s High Education Review Board approval prior to implementation. (Offered only to physician assistant students during the third professional year.)
 
PA799       Thesis       4 graduate credits
The focus of this course is the culmination of the research proposed and designed in PA504 and developed in PA790. The parameters of the scientific process are utilized to investigate health-related research problems and each student is guided through his/her individual research project. Seminar and individual conferences are dedicated to the evaluation and application of the medical literature, statistical analysis of the collected data, and development of the final thesis. The course culminates with the oral defense of the thesis at the Annual Research Forum. (Offered only to physician assistant students during the third professional year.)