Offered at South University, Richmond ; South University, Savannah ; South University, Tampa ;and South University, West Palm Beach
Physician assistants perform many medical functions under the supervision of a licensed physician, including, but not limited to, evaluation, monitoring, diagnostics, therapeutics, counseling, and referral. The scope of the practice varies according to state laws, the medical setting, and the training of the physician assistant.
The South University, Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) degree program strives to provide educational experiences where faculty, staff, clinical instructors, students, and other health care providers work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, and commitment. The program’s focus is on the continuous operation of a quality PA educational programis designed to prepare graduates to seek employment in clinical leadership roles in an evolving health care system. The program encourages lifelong learning skills with proficiency in critical thinking creative problem solving, and information literacy.
The South University Physician Assistant (MS) program exists to educate a diverse student population as providers of high quality, cost-efficient health care who will make a positive difference while practicing the art and science of medicine with physician direction.
- The program will recruit and retain a dynamic faculty with the appropriate training and experience to support the program purpose with a persistent focus on teaching excellence.
- The program will recruit a qualified diverse student cohort with education and experience that will foster success in the program.
- The program will strive to adequately prepare graduates for successful completion of Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) and for placement in the healthcare workforce as competent physician assistants.
The objectives of the South University Physician Assistant (PA) program are to recruit qualified students from all areas and provide fair and equitable admissions criteria; make available a variety of instructional models and resources to provide the PA student with the most effective learning environments and opportunities; provide appropriate cognitive psychomotor and affective learning opportunities for PA students to achieve the necessary competency and proficiency levels expected and required of the physician assistant; provide appropriate learning opportunities for PA students that will prepare them to perform their expected competencies in an ethical, legal, safe, and effective manner upon graduation; prepare PA students to communicate effectively; instill the importance and value of continued education and involvement in appropriate professional and community affairs after graduation; and encourage the PA students to recognize their own strengths and limitations and interpret for others the scope and function of a physician assistant.
The Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant is supported by a community-wide network of hospitals, clinics, health agencies, and private medical practices that serve as clinical settings.
Physician Assistant Learning Outcomes
The South University Physician Assistant program expects the following outcomes for each graduate of the program. The program uses achievement of these outcomes as metrics for student competence and program effectiveness. Graduates will:
- Demonstrate the knowledge and skills to evaluate and manage patient complaints across the range of disease states in a diverse patient population.
- Demonstrate the ability to provide patient care that is effective, patient-centered, efficient, and equitable for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness.
- Demonstrate the ability to work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
- Demonstrate verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills that provide effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, and other members of the healthcare team.
- Develop and demonstrate characteristics of professionalism essential to be an effective physician assistant.
- Demonstrate the ability to determine the nature of information needed, to effectively and efficiently access information, to critically evaluate the quality and relevance of information, to incorporate the information into clinical or professional practice, and to determine potential ethical and legal dilemmas associated with the use of information.
Completion of the didactic phase of the curriculum requires completion of a formative evaluation. The formative evaluation consists of written, skills performance and professionalism components, is administered at the end of the didactic training period. This evaluation is used to identify individual and collective weaknesses within the cohort that should be remediated and strengthened during the clinical phase of the program.
Successful completion of the program requires satisfactory completion of a comprehensive summative evaluation. The comprehensive summative evaluation consisting of written, skills performance and professionalism evaluation components is administered up to four (4) months before the completion of the clinical training period.
The test is designed to evaluate student’s mastery of multiple student learning outcomes in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. This evaluation is used to identify competence for entry into the Physician Assistant profession and thus eligibility for graduation.
There are three (3) distinct components of the graduate candidate’s summative evaluation. Each must be successfully completed in order to earn a passing grade for the senior seminar. Minimum passing scores on the components of the summative examination are as follows:
- Written Exam - Score must be greater than or equal to 2 standard deviations below the cohort mean for the exam
- Clinical Performance - Scores must be greater than or equal to 80% in each area assessed on the clinical performance examination (history taking, physical examination, clinical decision making, professionalism and communication skills)
- Final Professionalism Evaluation - Deemed “Competent” in each area of professionalism on the programs summary professionalism evaluation.
Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program permits students to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. (NCCPA). The PANCE is designed to assess essential medical and surgical knowledge of graduate Physician Assistants in conducting a variety of healthcare functions normally encountered in practice.
South University does not guarantee third-party certification/ licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.