Physician Assistant Program

Curriculum

Physician Assistant Program courses listed MUST be taken in sequence. This is a 28 month graduate program leading to a Master of Science degree (M.S.) in Physician Assistant Studies.

Schedule
Course Descriptions

Schedule

Year One
Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.
Fall I Orientation to the PA Program

0

PAS 600

Clinical Human Anatomy & Physiology

4

PAS 601

Clinical Pharmacology I
3
PAS 621
Physical Diagnosis I
3
PAS 631
Clinical Medicine I
7
PAS 641
Clinical Skills Development I
2
PAS 642
Professional Seminar I
2
PAS 605

Total
21


Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.

Spring I

Christian Bioethics
2
PAS 611
Clinical Pharmacology II
3
PAS 622
Physical Diagnosis II
3
PAS 632
Clinical Medicine II
7
PAS 644
Clinical Skills Development II
2
PAS 645
Professional Seminar II
2
PAS 606

 Total
19


Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.

Summer I

Clinical Pharmacology III
2
PAS 623
Physical Diagnosis III
2
PAS 633
Clinical Medicine III
4
PAS 646
Clinical Skills Development III
2
PAS 647
Professional Seminar III
1
PAS 607

Total
11


Year Two

Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.

Fall II

Orientation to Clinical Rotations 0
PAS 650
Clinical Practicum I

6

PAS ###

Clinical Practicum II
6

PAS ###

Clinical Practicum III
6
PAS ###
Professional Seminar IV
1
PAS 663

Total
19


Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.

Spring II

Clinical Practicum IV
6
PAS ###
Clinical Practicum V
6
PAS ###
Clinical Practicum VI
6
PAS ###
Professional Seminar V
1
PAS 664

Total
19


Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.

Summer II

Clinical Practicum VII
6
PAS ###
Clinical Practicum VIII
6
PAS ###

Total 
12


Semester
Course Title
Credits
Course No.

Fall III

Clinical Preceptorship
6
PAS 661
Transition to Practice
1
PAS 671
Masters Project
2
PAS 675

Total
9



Course Descriptions

Physician Assistant Studies (PAS)

All classroom based course instruction is provided on the Harding main campus. There is no distance learning option available. Graduate and Professional Catalog link.

600 Orientation to the PA program (0) fall.
Introduction to Harding's PA program and expected professional practices. Students receive instruction that will lead to successful completion of this academic program. Must be completed at the designated time set by the Program.

601 Clinical Human Anatomy & Physiology (4) fall.
This course is devoted to the study of clinical gross anatomy and clinical physiology. It is designed to provide students with essential knowledge of the major anatomical regions, structures of the body and the important physiologic functions related to health and disease. Emphasis will be placed upon the relationships of components within a specific region as well as topographical and functional anatomy as it relates to physical examination skills. Students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of anatomy and physiology through the use of case studies and virtual laboratory experiences. The major anatomic features and physiologic functions of the human organism will be examined and discussed, with correlations to diagnostic modalities currently used by practitioners in order to establish correct diagnoses and plan appropriate therapies. Case studies will illustrate the anatomical findings in the classical clinical presentations of the most common chief complaints. The course includes regular lecture and laboratory sessions.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program.

611 Christian Bioethics (2) spring.
This course introduces the basic concepts and language of Christian medical ethics, in the context of Biblical principles, to topics that pertain to PA practice. Students are given opportunity to develop skills in the application of medical ethics to clinical cases. Some of the topics to be included are; response to death and dying, advanced directives and end of life decisions and legal issues of health care. Prerequisite: acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program

621 Clinical Pharmacology I (3) fall.
The first course of a three-course series which must be taken sequentially. This course will introduce the principles of pharmacology and clinical pharmacotherapeutics. Other topics will include discussion of treatment guidelines, indications, contraindications, PA prescriptive practices, drug law, drug information resources and case studies. Following this, the student will begin an in-depth analysis of pharmacotherapeutics and the application of drugs for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. A pathophysiologic approach will be used, with emphasis on the rational use of drugs in the care and treatment of pediatric, adult and geriatric patients in primary care settings. Specific therapeutic regimens will be reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the clinical medicine series.
Prerequisites: acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program.

622 Clinical Pharmacology II (3) spring.
The second course of a three-course series which must be taken sequentially. This course offers an in-depth analysis of pharmacotherapeutics and the application of drugs for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. A body systems/pathophysiologic approach will be used, with emphasis placed on the rational use of drugs in the care and treatment of pediatric, adult and geriatric patients in primary care settings. Specific therapeutic regimens will be reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the clinical medicine series. Interpretation of the medical literature is emphasized using the principles of evidence based medicine.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program and successful completion PAS 621.

623 Clinical Pharmacology III (2) summer.
A third course in a three-course series which must be taken sequentially. This course will continue an in-depth analysis of pharmacotherapeutics and the application of drugs for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. A body systems/pathophysiologic approach will be used, emphasis placed on the rational use of drugs in the care and treatment of pediatric, adult and geriatric patients in primary care settings. Specific therapeutic regimens will be reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the clinical medicine series. Students will also learn principles of pharmacotherapy in multi-system conditions and diseases. Continued emphasis is placed on interpretation of the medical literature using the principles of evidence based medicine.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program and successful completion of PAS 622.

631 Physical Diagnosis I (3) fall.
The first course of a three semester series is taught by the PA Program faculty and visiting community professionals. It provides the knowledge and skills foundation of PA practice: taking a history and performing a physical examination. Course material is taught through lectures, small group interaction and practical sessions covering the basic History and Physical by system and region. Assessments for the adult, pediatric and geriatric populations will be taught, with a focus on normal growth and development through the lifespan. This course includes regular lecture and laboratory sessions.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program.

632 Physical Diagnosis II (3) spring.
The second course of a three semester series which must be taken sequentially. Course material is taught through lectures, small group interaction and practical sessions with techniques reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the clinical medicine series. Assessments for the adult, pediatric and geriatric populations will be taught, with a focus on normal growth and development through the lifespan. Activities in this second course of the series will reinforce the skills learned in the previous semester and include real and simulated cases along with lectures and small group interactions. An introduction to communication skills for use with patients, families and other health care professionals will be included. This course includes regular lecture and laboratory sessions.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into Physician Assistant Program and successful completion of PAS 631.

633 Physical Diagnosis III (2) summer.
The third course of a three semester series which must be taken sequentially. Course material is taught through lectures, small group interaction and practical sessions with techniques reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the clinical medicine series. Assessments for the adult, pediatric and geriatric populations will be taught, with a focus on normal growth and development through the lifespan. Activities in the third course of the series will reinforce the skills learned in the previous two semesters and include real and simulated cases along with lectures and small group interactions. A strong emphasis is placed on effective communication with patients, families and other health care professionals. This course includes regular lecture and laboratory sessions. Prerequisites: Acceptance into Physician Assistant Program and successful completion of PAS 632.

641 Clinical Medicine I (7) fall.
This first course of a three-course sequence examines conditions, diseases and disorders commonly encountered throughout the lifespan. Basic principles of health and disease will be discussed in depth. A body systems approach will be used, and there will be an emphasis on cardiovascular health and disease, respiratory disease as well as head and neck conditions during this first course, in coordination with the Pharmacology and Physical Diagnosis course series. Each disease or disorder is described in terms of pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. Attention will also be given to primary and secondary methods of disease prevention. Interpretation of the medical literature is emphasized using the principles of evidence based medicine. Corequisite: PAS 642.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program.

642 Clinical Skills Development I (2) fall.
This is the first of a three-part lab sequence providing a practical approach to diagnostic testing in the primary care setting. It is designed to train students to order, perform, and interpret the results of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures most commonly used in primary care, with attention to cost-effectiveness. Students will learn the indications for, sequencing of, and interpretation of test results, including radiologic, physiologic, and clinical laboratory testing. Includes basic principles of radiology, pathology, and the correlation between disease process and interpretation of clinical laboratory diagnostic tests. Includes demonstration and practice of ECG theory and interpretation.
Corequisites: Must be taken with PAS 641.

644 Clinical Medicine II (7) spring.
This second course of a three-course sequence continues the examination of conditions, diseases and disorders commonly encountered throughout the lifespan. These include respiratory, gastrointestinal, nutritional, and musculoskeletal disorders. Each disease or disorder is described in terms of pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. Attention will also be given to a variety of topics such as primary and secondary methods of disease prevention, growth and development, immunization and screening practices, health promotion, health education, patient adherence, cultural diversity, and rural health issues are examined. Diseases and disorders will be reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the Pharmacology and Physical Diagnosis course series. Interpretation of the medical literature is emphasized using the principles of evidence based medicine.

Corequisite: PAS 645.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program; Successful completion of PAS 641.

645 Clinical Skills Development II (2) spring.
This is the second of a three-part lab sequence providing a practical approach to diagnostic testing in the primary care setting. It is designed to train students to order, perform, and interpret the results of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures most commonly used in primary care, with attention to cost-effectiveness. Generally following the course material in the corresponding Clinical Medicine course, students will learn the indications for, sequencing of, and interpretation of test results, including radiologic, physiologic, and clinical laboratory testing as related to specific disease states and conditions. Includes basic principles of radiology (indications for, materials used, and information obtainable), pathology, and the correlation between disease process and interpretation of clinical laboratory diagnostic tests. Includes demonstration and practice of various laboratory methods, injection, and biopsy and suture techniques.
Corequisites: Must be taken with PAS 644.

646 Clinical Medicine III (4) summer.
This third course of a three-course sequence examines conditions, diseases and disorders commonly encountered throughout the lifespan. These include infectious, immunological, urologic, renal and reproductive disorders. Each disease or disorder is described in terms of pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. Continued attention will be given to primary and secondary methods of disease prevention. Growth and development, immunization and screening practices, human sexuality, health promotion, health education, patient adherence, cultural diversity, substance abuse, family violence, child abuse and rural health issues are examined. Diseases and disorders will be reviewed from a systems approach in coordination with the Pharmacology and Physical Diagnosis course series. Interpretation of the medical literature is emphasized using the principles of evidence based medicine. Corequisite: PAS 647.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program and successful completion of PAS 644.

647 Clinical Skills Development III (2) summer.
This is the third of a three-part lab sequence providing a practical approach to diagnostic testing in the primary care setting. It is designed to train students to order, perform, and interpret the results of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures most commonly used in primary care, with attention to cost-effectiveness. Generally following the course material in the corresponding Clinical Medicine course, students will learn the indications for, sequencing of, and interpretation of test results, including radiologic, physiologic, and clinical laboratory testing as related to specific disease states and conditions. Includes continued demonstration and practice of various laboratory methods, injection, biopsy, and minor surgery techniques.
Corequisites: Must be taken with PAS 646.

605 Professional Seminar I (2) fall.
First of a five semester series that spans the didactic and clinical years of the program. This series will examine the professional issues physician assistants commonly face in practice. The course introduces students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and sensitivity pertaining to the diversity and uniqueness of populations to be encountered as health care practitioners using lectures, panel discussions, small group activities, and participation in community events. Some of the topics included in this course are: principles of professionalism, developing effective listening skills and attitudes conducive to effective behavioral counseling in a variety of settings; PA professional organization; an overview of health care provider roles, and a focus on the delivery of health care via a team approach.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program.

606 Professional Seminar II (2) spring.
This is a continuation of a five semester series that spans the didactic and clinical years of the program. The course introduces students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and sensitivity pertaining to the diversity and uniqueness of populations to be encountered as health care practitioners using lectures, panel discussions, small group activities, and participation in community events. Some of the topics added this semester in this series are: principles and practice of evidence-based medicine; the patient-centered method of care and critical review of the medical literature. Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program and successful completion of PAS 605.

607 Professional Seminar III (1) summer.
This is a continuation of a five semester series that spans the didactic and clinical years of the program. The course introduces students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and sensitivity pertaining to the diversity and uniqueness of populations to be encountered as health care practitioners using lectures, panel discussions, small group activities, and participation in community events. Some of the topics included in this series are: principles and practice of evidence-based medicine; the patient-centered method of care; PA professional organizations; critical review of the medical literature; health care costs and reimbursement issues, the evaluation of health care quality, and a focus on the delivery of health care via a team approach. Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Physician Assistant Program and successful completion of PAS 606.

PAS 663 Professional Seminar IV (1) fall of clinical year.
This is a continuation of a five semester series that spans the didactic and clinical years of the program. This series will examine the professional issues physician assistants commonly face in practice. The course introduces students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and sensitivity pertaining to the diversity and uniqueness of populations to be encountered as health care practitioners using lectures, panel discussions, small group activities, and participation in community events. Some of the topics included in this series are: PA certification and recertification; critical review of the medical literature; health care costs and reimbursement issues, the evaluation of health care quality, and a focus on the delivery of health care via a team approach.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of the Didactic Phase of the PA Program and 607

PAS 664 Professional Seminar V (1) spring of clinical year.
This is a continuation of a five semester series that spans the didactic and clinical years of the program. This series will examine the professional issues physician assistants commonly face in practice. The course introduces students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and sensitivity pertaining to the diversity and uniqueness of populations to be encountered as health care practitioners using lectures, panel discussions, small group activities, and participation in community events. Some of the topics included in this series are: principles and practice of evidence-based medicine; PA professional organizations; licensure; PA certification and recertification; critical review of the medical literature; health care costs and reimbursement issues, the evaluation of health care quality, and a focus on the delivery of health care via a team approach.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of the Didactic Phase of the PA Program and PAS 663

PAS 650 Orientation to Clinical Rotations (0) fall
Introduction to expectations and practices required during the clinical phase of the PA program. Students receive specific instruction in how to have successful clinical rotations. All students are expected to complete ACLS training. Tutorials for required on-line coursework are presented. Clinical orientation must be completed at the designated time set by the Program.

PAS 680 Independent Study (1-6) schedule varies.
Provides opportunity for special assignments or remediation if required by special circumstances.
Prerequisite: approval of Program Director

(Clinical Practicums I – VIII)
The Clinical Practicums (AKA “rotations”) make up the majority of the clinical year, and provide students with hands-on learning in a variety of settings: hospitals, private practices, and community and rural health clinics. Students are placed on rotations with a clinical preceptor who has been selected based on specific criteria including: the clinical area of expertise, characteristics of the practice or clinical site, interest in teaching, and stated willingness to allow students increasing responsibilities and activities as the student progresses through the rotation. A list of procedures, tasks, and duties commonly performed by PAs will be provided to preceptors and students. The list is derived from common duties and tasks PAs are expected to perform.

651 Primary Care 1 (6) schedule varies.
This rotation will emphasize conditions and disease entities commonly encountered in the rural primary care setting. The Primary Care rotations have specific objectives in adult medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, and gynecology/prenatal care.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

652 Primary Care 2 (6) schedule varies.
This rotation will continue the primary care experience with emphasis on conditions and disease entities commonly encountered in the rural primary care setting. The Primary Care rotations have specific objectives in adult medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, and gynecology/prenatal care.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

653 General Surgery (6) schedule varies.
The General Surgery rotation is to educate the physician assistant student in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of both the inpatient and outpatient surgical patient.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

654 Emergency Medicine (6) schedule varies.
The rotation in Emergency Medicine provides the physician assistant student exposure to the diagnosis, management, and treatment of common emergency, urgent, and non-urgent medical problems that typically present to the emergency department.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

655 Geriatrics (6) schedule varies.
The geriatrics rotation will give students experience in dealing with the special needs of the older patient in a variety of common settings.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

656 Mental Health (6) schedule varies.
The purpose of the Mental Health rotation is to teach the student to evaluate, diagnose, and treat common acute and chronic psychiatric problems through direct patient contact.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

659 Clinical Elective (6) schedule varies.
Elective rotations may include traditional clinical sites as well as missions, public health, prison, military bases, etc. The Elective rotation may be in a clinical subject area of special interest or may be used for additional work in a required subject area as determined by the Program.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

660 Clinical Elective (6) schedule varies.
Elective rotations may include traditional clinical sites as well as missions, public health, prison, military bases, etc. The Elective rotation may be in a clinical subject area of special interest or may be used for additional work in a required subject area as determined by the Program.
Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

661 Clinical Preceptorship (6) fall
The Preceptorship, the final clinical experience as a PA student, is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to refine skills in health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of patients in a primary care setting. Ideally, it will also provide practical experience in patient care responsibilities at a site of potential employment.
Prerequisite: successful completion of clinical practicums.

671 Transition to Practice (1) fall.
Summation of the discussions from Professional Seminars course series on professional development topics pertinent to employment and practice as a PA such as licensing and credentialing, medical coding and billing, healthcare financing and delivery systems, and career and leadership opportunities.
Prerequisite: successful completion of clinical practicums.

675 Masters Project (0,0,0,0,2)  summer, fall, spring, summer, fall. In completion of their work toward a Master of Science degree, the Masters Project is a capstone project designed to motivate senior physician assistant students to develop attitudes which stimulate continuing pursuit of professional excellence, Christ-centered service to others, and lifelong learning. Based on the community-oriented primary care (COPC) concept, this project facilitates integration of Harding University’s mission by providing service to a community in need. At the beginning of the senior year, students will identify and develop a partnership with a “community” (a group of people as defined by the student), prioritize health concerns, and design and monitor the impact of an intervention that can make a difference to the health of that community. As the program establishes on-going communities for service, senior students may continue the work of previous classes. Students may work alone or in groups. The program will establish a community service list for those students choosing to participate in established local service opportunities. Students are encouraged to be creative and chose a project with meaning to them and one that will offer support to an identified community need. At the culmination of the project students will write a professional paper describing the project and process and formally present the project during the last semester of the senior year. Credit is granted at the culmination of the project. Prerequisite: successful completion of didactic phase curriculum.

Updated 2/3/09, 1/27/10

Physician Assistant Office
501-279-5642
paprogram@harding.edu

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