Course Descriptions

The following courses are a required component of the didactic education for the degree of  Master of Science, Physician Assistant studies (MSPA) 

Professional Issues for Physician Assistants I, II, III (PAM 530, PAM 535, PAM 540)
This course continues throughout the three terms of the didactic year. During the first term, the students will learn the necessary skills to search, interpret, and evaluate the medical literature in order to maintain a current and critical knowledge of new medical findings that are pertinent to their patients. Students will learn the basic principles of evidence-based medicine, including its application to individualized patient care. Instruction will include modules on the history of the PA profession; the health care team; professional organizations; cultural issues and their impact on health care; confidentiality, privilege and HIPAA;  personal and professional ethics, including professional responsibility and a commitment to the patient’s welfare; health care delivery systems and policy; reimbursement; billing and coding; quality assurance and risk management; political and legal issues; and PA certification, licensing, and credentialing. (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01, B1.03-B1.09, B1.11, B2.10-B1.17, B3.01, C3.01-C3.03, and C3.05).

Master’s Research Project I – VI (PAM 515, PAM 520, PAM 525, PAM 615, PAM 620, PAM 625) 
The Master’s Research Project continues throughout the full two year program and begins as an on-campus course where the students are introduced to research design, validity, reliability, and ethics as well as data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The course then moves into an online format where the students will incorporate independent study and formative feedback to move through to completion and presentation of their research projects. The applied projects are chosen by the students, approved by the Course Coordinator , and must be a health promotion, disease prevention issue that is pertinent for a specific patient population and health care team (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01-B1.09, B1.11, B2.09, B2.10, B2.16, B3.01, B3.02, C3.01-C3.05).

Introductory Spanish for Medical Professionals (Span 570)
This combination lecture and laboratory/skills course introduces essential medical vocabulary, practical reference information, and medical notes from a cross-cultural perspective. The student will be introduced to basic language skills needed to conduct an interview with a Spanish speaking patient. Vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and pertinent cultural issues will be explored as well as techniques for eliciting information and sample interview questions. (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01, B1.06, B1.08, B1.09, B1.11, B2.04, C3.01-C3.03, and C3.05).

Behavioral Medicine I, II, III (PAM 500, PAM 505, PAM 510) 
Behavioral Medicine will cover the knowledge, skills and sensitivity needed in order to intervene effectively for a variety of psychiatric, emotional, and social concerns which impact upon the health and well-being of patients, including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. Students will gain skills in the evaluation, counseling, diagnosis, and management of patients with mental illness, issues of aging, and other acute, emergent, and chronic psychosocial situations. (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01-B1.09, B1.11, B2.08, B2.09, B2.13, B2.16, B3.01, C3.01-C3.03, and C3.05).

Introduction to Primary Care and the “Normal” Patient (PAM 545) 
This course will introduce the physician assistant student to primary care and the “normal” patient from the infant, child, adolescent, adult and elderly patient, including the expectant mother from pregnancy diagnosis to the delivery and postpartum care. The student will learn what is “normal,” i.e. the general molecular chemistry of life, including genetics; growth and development; basic screening exams for adults, newborns, and children; principles of pharmacology, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, and how to take accurate and complete histories on all types of patients. Health promotion and disease prevention will be addressed as well as immunology, infectious diseases, and antibiotics.  (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01-B1.06, B1.08, B1.09, B1.11, B2.02-B2.04, B2.06, B2.07, B2.12, B2.13, B3.01, C3.01-C3.03, and C3.05).

Integrated Primary Care I, II (PAM 560A, PAM 565A)
Continuing through fall and spring terms, this course provides students with instruction in patient assessment of the most common clinical problems seen by primary care practitioners. This course includes a review of human anatomy and physiology/pathophysiology and instruction in generation of differential diagnoses; ordering and interpreting appropriate diagnostic studies, such as radiography and electrocardiography; written documentation and oral presentation of patient data; and appropriate referral of patients. Using an organ systems approach, essential information is provided in regards to the diagnosis and management of the most common acute, emergent, and chronic clinical problems seen by primary care providers in their infant, child, adolescent, adult and elderly patients. Management methods discussed will include medical, surgical, pharmacologic, and rehabilitative modalities. The students will be able to develop an understanding of major drug classifications, their mechanism of action, the major side effects, and commonly used drugs in each category. Information is presented using lectures, labs, online assignments, and small group activities then enhanced with case studies. Standardized patient encounters, and simulation mannequin experiences will be provided in Procedures and Diagnostics, a course running concurrently. (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01-B1.09, B1.11, B2.02-B2.07, B2.13, B3.01, C3.01-C3.03, and C3.05)

Procedures and Diagnostics I, II (PAM 550A, PAM 555A) 

The Procedures and Diagnostics courses will allow the student to apply their knowledge by experiencing clinical situations with a simulation mannequin, standardized patient, or actual clinical patients. Students will learn techniques of patient interviewing; performing physical exams on infants, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly; ordering and interpreting appropriate diagnostic studies, such as a radiography and electrocardiography; and written documentation and oral presentation of patient data. Technical skills, including but not limited to suturing, casting, splinting, intravenous line insertion, and airway insertion, will be presented in a lab or workshop environment. Observational experiences and case studies will be used to enhance learning. The subject sequence is organized around the Integrated Primary Care course. (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01-B1.09, B1.11, B2.02-B2.07, B2.13, B3.01, C3.01-C3.03, and C3.05).

The following courses are a required component of the clinical education for the degree of Master of Science, Physician Assistant studies. 

Community-Based Clinical Experience I, II, III (PAM 600, PAM 605, PAM 610)
The second or clinical year is a Community-Based Clinical Education concept where the student will be placed in a primary care site typically located within a rural and/or under-served area. In general, the student is placed within a location that has supporting specialty care providers and hospitals.The student will remain in the community as they receive supervised clinical practice experiences in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, surgical care, pediatrics, prenatal and women’s health care, and psychiatry and / or behavioral medicine. While positioned in their primary care rotation for two or three days a week as a continuity clinic, during the remainder of the week the student will rotate through the above mentioned specialty rotations through the rest of the clinical year.  (ARC-PA Standards: B1.01, B3.01-B3.04, B3.06, B3.07, C3.01-C3.05, C4.01 and C4.02).

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Contact Us

PA Program
Monica Sanchez
Phone: (509) 865-0707
Email:
pa_hu@heritage.edu