Physician Assistant Program
Why are preceptors important at Harding?
Preceptors are essential to our clinical phase to mentor and challenge students in real-world experiences needed as they prepare to enter the field. Precepting can be a mutually beneficial experience:
- Influence the next generation of medical providers
- Access program provided CME resources
- Maintain knowledge of up to date medical practice
- Maintain and potentially increase workplace efficiency
- Students can initiate patient encounters independently - gathering a history, verifying past medical history or medications and performing a physical exam, allowing preceptors to complete charting or orders on previous patients.
- Students can assist with communicating diagnostic test results to patients and developing patient education materials
About the Harding University Physician Assistant Program
The mission of the PA program is to develop caring physician assistants who practice competent, patient-centered primary care in diverse environments.
- Established in 2005 as the first PA program in the state of Arkansas
- Program maintains ARC-PA accreditation
- Students from all over the country are represented in the PA program
- A focus of the program is improving medical care in underserved areas
PA Training Highlights
- 28-month Physician Assistant training program including a 12-month didactic phase and a 16-month clinical phase
- During the didactic phase, the students receive training in many subjects including:
- Physical exam skills
- Technical procedures (e.g. IV, central line, lumbar puncture and suturing)
- Diagnostic testing interpretation
- Clinical medicine
- Medical documentation
- Cultural competency
- BLS & ACLS training
- Students participate in high fidelity manikin and standardized patient simulations
Required Rotations - 6 weeks in length
- Primary Care I*
- Primary Care II*
- General Surgery
- Emergency Medicine
- Mental Health
- Elective I **
- Elective II **
- Preceptorship **
*One of these may be a split rotation between Women’s Health and Pediatrics
**Examples include Cardiology, Orthopedics, Dermatology, Interventional Radiology, Rheumatology, Pediatrics, Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care, Women's Health or a repeat of any of the required rotations.
"Having the hands-on experience with preceptors willing to challenge me has definitely helped solidify complicated concepts for me and have now become integral parts of how I hope to practice medicine." -Julia C. HUPA Class of 2020
“Serving as a psychiatry preceptor for PA students has been a great way to highlight the fundamentals of the practice of psychiatry. Harding students are a great addition to my treatment team.” –Lewis Krain, MD
FAQ for Interested Preceptors
How long are clinical rotations?
What type of medical professionals can serve as a preceptor?
Preceptors can be Physicians (MD or DO), PAs or APNs. Mental Health preceptors can also be psychologists.
What type of experiences should the PA student have on a clinical rotation?
Hands-on training through direct supervised patient care incorporating the spectrum of patient care. Examples include performing H&Ps, presenting the patient to the preceptor, determining diagnoses, developing treatment plans and performing procedures as appropriate for the rotation.
What is the expectation for PA clinical student performance?
The Program expects the PA clinical phase students to be approximately at the level of a Junior Medical Student at the time of their rotations.
What is the workload expectation for PA students on clinical rotation?
The preceptor determines the work schedule for the PA student. The students need to get an average of 30 hours per week at minimum and no more than 60 hours a week.
What is the expectation of supervision by the preceptor?
No treatment, including ordering lab-work, would be initiated by the student without first getting the approval of the preceptor, and all patient records would be signed by the preceptor (or his/her designee). Each patient’s evaluation should be confirmed by the preceptor.
Does all student supervision have to be provided by the assigned preceptor?
No. If the preceptor has a partner, the PA student can spend time with the partner as well as the preceptor or other health care professionals designated by the preceptor.
What type of student evaluation is expected of the preceptor?
The preceptor will complete a mid-rotation evaluation of the student at the end of the third week and an end-of-rotation evaluation. This is a simple form that will be supplied by the program and will only take a few minutes to complete.