2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
    Dec 01, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant Studies MS


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Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

College of Health Sciences and Education
Department Chair and Program Director Erin Burns Kilduff, MSPAS, PA-C

Accreditation Statement

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) is the accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public and PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards.

The following statement is provided by ARC-PA:

“The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation - Provisional status to the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Misericordia University. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.”

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at: http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-misericordia-university/ 

Faculty

Department Chair and Program Director: Erin Burns Kilduff, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies, BS Marywood University; MSPAS Kings College

Medical Director: Gerard Maritato, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies; MD Emory University

Didactic Director: Nicole M. Munley, MSPAS, PA-C, Assistant Professor, MSPAS Kings College

Clinical Director: Lindsey Vigilante, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies, BS, MSPAS Marywood University

Principal Faculty Member: Jessica Frawley Woolfolk, Clinical Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies, MSPAS Kings College

Principal Faculty Member:  Amy Wierbowski, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies, BFA, MFA, MSPAS Marywood University; DMSc University of Lynchburg

Program Description

The Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program is a 25-month, year-round program designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and meet the PA Program’s admission requirements. The didactic year (first year), is composed of twenty-two medical and clinical science courses that prepare students to enter the clinical year.  During the clinical year, students must successfully complete nine courses including eight supervised clinical experiences and a master’s project.  Each experience has been designed with rotation-specific course topics (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery, Women’s Health, Emergency Medicine, and an Elective) and instructional objectives created to complement and guide the physician assistant student to achieve each course’s learning outcome.

The Program curriculum has been designed to support student achievement of the defined mission and goals of the program and the program competencies.  Program competencies have been developed to align with professional standards put forth by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.  Competencies are the medical knowledge; interpersonal, clinical, and technical skills; professional behaviors; and clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities required for PA practice. Each student who successfully completes the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program is required to possess the skills, characteristics and attributes listed in the program competencies. 

The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) is a multiple-choice exam that assesses basic medical and surgical knowledge.  The program integrates the process of preparing for the PANCE throughout the Clinical phase to minimize duplication of study and create synergy. All the topics listed for each rotation include all of the topics on the NCCPA Content Blueprint for PANCE. 

Together the didactic and clinical curriculum totals 105 graduate credits.  Students who successfully complete the program are awarded a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree. Misericordia University Physician Assistant Studies Graduates are eligible to take the PANCE for certification.

Mission Statement

“The Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program strives to attract intellectually talented and caring students who will be educationally transformed and mentored to become competent and compassionate Physician Assistants.”

Program Competencies

Expectations of Graduates

Each student who successfully completes the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program is expected to possess the following skills, characteristics and attributes.  The expectations have been developed to align with professional standards put forth by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

  1. Demonstrate the biomedical knowledge required to care for patients seeking services for preventive, emergent, acute, and chronic healthcare during any stage in a patient’s lifespan.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to elicit an appropriate and essential medical history from any patient, as based upon presenting complaint, co-morbid conditions, age, gender, race and socio-economic position.
  3. Demonstrate the psychomotor skills necessary to complete a full or problem focused physical examination, as may be required in preventive, emergent, acute, or chronic care settings.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to gather and analyze patient care data effectively, leading to the development of differential diagnoses and effective clinical decision making.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to develop appropriate and complete diagnostic evaluations.
  6. Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to develop treatment management plans for patients seeking care in preventive, emergent, acute, and chronic care settings.
  7. Demonstrate communication skills that support the delivery of sound patient education to diverse populations in such a manner that facilitates patient understanding.
  8. Possess the skills necessary to develop and maintain medical records that will support inter-professional communication and minimize errors in care delivery.
  9. Provide clinical procedures and testing in a safe and competent manner, as may be required in preventive, emergent, acute, and chronic care settings.
  10. Apply evidenced based medicine concepts in an effort to improve patient outcomes and patient understanding of the care that they receive. 
  11. Adhere to the “Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession”, established by the American Academy of Physician Assistants. (www.aapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/16-EthicalConduct.pdf)

Technical Standards for Admission & Successful Academic Progression

Misericordia University is committed to creating an environment where all are welcome and does not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or treatment of students. In the spirit of hospitality and justice, we comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended. In order to receive services, students must self-identify their disability and provide documentation from a healthcare professional. Eligibility for accommodations such academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aides is determined through an individualized, interactive process in the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD).

The OSD is located in the SSC, on the lower level of Alumnae Hall. Individuals seeking accommodations may call 570-674-6408 or email Kristen Ricardo, Assistant Director SSC/Office for Students with Disabilities at [email protected].

The following are required of all individuals who seek entry into and for successful progression through the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program. As such, candidates and students must meet the following Technical Standards:

Each Physician Assistant student must possess the following capabilities, with or without accommodations:

General Abilities
Adequate functioning of the senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Each candidate’s and student’s senses must be keen enough to allow for gathering, integrating and analyzing data obtained during physical examinations, and in a consistent and reproducible manner. Additionally, candidates and students must possess the ability to detect temperature differences, pain, pressure, vibration and movement. The ability to gather and analyze such information must be accurate when compared to accepted physical examination standards, and physical findings confirmed by experienced clinicians. Finally, sufficient emotional health and stability is required for exercising good judgment and promptly completing all academic and patient care responsibilities.

Perform Motor Tasks
Students must possess sufficient fine and gross motor control to effectively conduct inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation activities, all of which are required to complete a physical examination. Additionally, all students must possess stable equilibrium, postural control, good motor function, and sound eye – hand coordination, as is necessary to for satisfactory performance in patient care and classroom or laboratory settings, including handling surgical instruments and providing routine and emergent medical procedures. Students must also possess sufficient mental and physical stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving, lifting, and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in patient care, clinical education, and classroom or laboratory settings.

Communicate
Communicate effectively and sensitively with persons of any cultural and social background using appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills with faculty, peers, other members of the health care team, and patients/clients/caregivers. Read, write, and interpret written and nonverbal communication in a timely manner at a competency level that allows one to safely function in the academic or clinical setting. Answer calls, make calls, and communicate needs on a telephone.

Maintain Safety
Maintain a safe environment for students, faculty, patients, and colleagues. Recognize and respond appropriately and in a timely manner to a medical emergency.

Observation
Students must be able to accurately observe, through vision, hearing, and smell, a patient’s physical and emotional condition, as a means to differentiate between states of good health, acute illness or injury, and chronic illness.

Cognitively Process
Receive, remember, analyze, interpret, evaluate, and synthesize information from multiple sources, in a timely fashion. Attend to multiple tasks throughout the day of scheduled classes and clinical education experiences. Organize and prioritize information to make safe, appropriate, and timely decisions regarding patients for the purpose of further examination, intervention, or referral. Problem solve, recognize deviations from a norm, formulate evaluations, and derive clinical judgments from information collected, in a timely fashion. Observe and accurately interpret patient responses and adjust examination and/or intervention as indicated by the patient response.

Demonstrate Professional and Social Behavior
Students must demonstrate the emotional health and stability that is required to persevere in spite of longs hours of classroom instruction, challenging laboratory settings, unsettling patient care experiences, differences of opinion with peers and instructors, and personal sacrifice. They must demonstrate the flexibility and personal resolve that is necessary to endure long hours of physical and intellectual stress, without demonstration of adverse behavior. Work with multiple patients/families and colleagues at the same time. Work with lab partners, patients, families, and others under stressful conditions, including but not limited to medically or emotionally unstable individuals, situations requiring rapid adaptations, the provision of CPR, or other emergency interventions. Organize and prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information, and make decisions. Adhere to the “Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession”, established by the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Admission Requirements

*Please note, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the MU PA Program has made admission requirement modifications for prospective student applicants in the  2021-2022 admission cycle (modifications are demonstrated with *).

The Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program will adhere to a rolling-admission process. You do not need to complete a GRE, GMAT, or MCAT examination to qualify for entry. The Misericordia University Physician Assistant CASPA admission cycle will run from April 30, 2021 to April 1, 2022.  Please apply through The Central Application Services for Physician Assistants.

Requirement 1:

Completion of a baccalaureate degree or graduate degree (from an accredited college or university) prior to matriculation.

Foreign Educational Experience

Applicants who intend to use foreign educational experiences and degrees (those obtained outside of the United States), must have their higher education record, including all course work and completed degree(s), evaluated by an organization accredited and licensed to do so.

English Language Proficiency

If English is not your native language, or if English is not the primary language spoken in your home, you must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The following are the minimum score requirements: Internet-based TOEFL exam (iBT): The Internet-based TOEFL has four subsections, with a grading scale for each section from 1 to 30 (30 being the highest score). Misericordia University will look closely at the score for each section rather than the total score.

The minimum scores for each section are as follows:

Writing: 20

Speaking: 20

Reading: 20

Listening: 20

Students should indicate on the registration form that they wish the test results to be sent directly to Misericordia University. The TOEFL code for Misericordia University is 2087; the department code is 44. See https://www.ets.org/toefl for more information.

Requirement 2:

Academic Requirements (minimums):

Overall GPA = 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)

Science GPA = 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)

Prerequisite Courses must have received any grade of “B” or higher. All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last 10 years. Applicants may apply with no more than two prerequisite courses in progress or planned. Official transcripts are required to be submitted once courses are completed.

*Pass/Fail grading scale:  To accommodate students enrolled in prerequisite courses whose universities have moved to a P/F grading scale during the COVID-19 Pandemic, courses that are awarded satisfactory completion (P) will be accepted for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. In situations where candidates are awarded P/F grades, the grade point average (GPA) for those grades is not impacted in the calculation of GPA. The MUPA Program will only consider CASPA calculated GPAs.

*Online Lab:  To accommodate students enrolled in prerequisite courses with a lab whose universities have transitioned to an online format during the COVID-19 Pandemic, labs that are completed online will be accepted for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.  If the lab component was removed, we will still accept that prerequisite course if completed with a grade of “B” or higher or with a satisfactory completion (P). In situations where candidates are awarded P/F grades, the grade point average (GPA) for those grades is not impacted in the calculation of GPA. The MUPA Program will only consider CASPA calculated GPAs.

Required Prerequisite Courses are as follows:

  • A&P I (w/ lab – 4 credits)
  • A&P II (w/ lab – 4 credits)
  • Microbiology (w/ lab – 3 credits)
  • Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • Genetics (3 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits)
  • Medical Terminology (1 credit)

 

PA PROGRAM POLICY: ADVANCED PLACEMENT

ARC PA STANDARD A3.13: The program must define, publish, consistently apply and make readily available to prospective students, policies and procedures to include:

c) practices for awarding or granting advanced placement,

The Misericordia University PA Program does not grant advanced placement to anyone. Advanced standing or special consideration for previous coursework or degrees are not provided. All applicants will be evaluated and assessed through the same application and interview processes.

Requirement 3:

Completion of a minimum of 250 hours of (acceptable) patient care experience.

*Direct Patient Care Experience:  During the 2021-2022 admission cycle, the minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience required at the time of application submission will be reduced to 250 hours of direct patient care experience to accommodate for situations in which an applicant may not have been able to complete these hours due to clinic closures or removal of students from those settings.

All direct patient care experience must be documented on the MU “DOCUMENTATION of DIRECT PATIENT CARE EXPERIENCE FORM”, printed for signature, then uploaded into your CASPA application. Please access the Misericordia University “DOCUMENTATION of DIRECT PATIENT CARE EXPERIENCE FORM” using the direct patient care button to access the Direct Patient Care Experience form.

Requirement 4:

A personal statement in which the applicant clearly and concisely describes his or her motivation for wanting to become a PA, their understanding of the PA role, and why they have chosen to apply to the MU PA Program.

Requirement 5:

Two to three letters of recommendation are required. Medical Professional (PAs, MDs, DOs, and NPs) recommendations will be scored at a higher value. Other recommendations will be considered.

Process

*Please note, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the MU PA Program has made admission requirement modifications for prospective student applicants in the CASPA 2021-2022 admission cycle (modifications are demonstrated with *).

APPLICATION:  All applications for entry into the MU PA Program must be completed through CASPA.  Those candidates who meet the minimum Admission Requirements (see Admission Requirement information above) will be reviewed for interview consideration.  Each application that is evaluated will be reviewed in an equitable and unbiased manner.

OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS: Official transcripts and all admission materials must be submitted through CASPA.  Applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree (or graduate degree) within the United States must present an official transcript which demonstrates a specific and distinct grade for each course and an overall GPA.  *CASPA has adopted a COVID-19 transcript acceptation process for situations where students are unable to obtain official transcripts due to COVID-19 school closures.  CASPA’s decision of accepting transcripts will be accepted by Misericordia University.

PRE-REQUISITES:  All courses, including medical terminology, must have an associated grade. Pass/Fail grading will not be accepted. Any “C” grades or lower are not acceptable and will result in an applicant being disqualified for that application cycle. Applicants may repeat prerequisite course once for grade improvement. However, all grades for science courses, whether a course is repeated or taken once, will be included in the calculation for the undergraduate science GPA. Greater points are awarded to higher grades in the prerequisite courses.

*Pass/Fail grading scale:  To accommodate students enrolled in prerequisite courses whose universities have moved to a P/F grading scale during the COVID-19 Pandemic, courses that are awarded satisfactory completion (P) will be accepted for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. In situations where candidates are awarded P/F grades, the grade point average (GPA) for those grades is not impacted in the calculation of GPA. The MUPA Program will only consider CASPA calculated GPAs.

SCORING OF INITIAL APPLICATION MATERIALS:

Cumulative GPA (Increased points are awarded based on GPA)

Science GPA (Increased points are awarded based on GPA)

Prerequisite Courses:

  • A&P I (w/lab – 4 credits)
  • A&P II (w/lab – 4 credits)
  • Microbiology (w/lab – 3 credits)
  • Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • Genetics (3 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits)
  • Medical Terminology (1 credit)

Special Misericordia University Advantage:  Applicants who have completed a bachelor or master’s degree through Misericordia University will receive higher scoring of their initial application materials. 

Military Advantage:  Applicants who are on active duty reserve status or who are a United States Military Veteran will receive higher scoring of their initial application materials.

Direct Patient Care Experience (increased hours earn more points)
Acceptable experiences include but are not limited to: Pharmacist; Chiropractor; Corpsman/ Medic /Independent Duty Corpsman; Forensic Pathologist; International Medical Graduate with US Healthcare System Experience; Registered Nurse; Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner; Osteopathic Physician; Medical Doctor; Paramedic AAS; Physical Therapist; Podiatrist; Anesthesia Tech; Cardiovascular Tech; Athletic Trainer; Emergency Room Tech; Surgical Tech; Massage Therapist; Occupational Therapist; Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant; Physical Therapist; Physical Therapy Assistant; Speech-Language Pathologist; Emergency Medicine Tech; Licensed Practical Nurse; Medical Assistant; Phlebotomist; Certified Nursing Assistant; Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech; Pharmacy Tech; Personal Trainer; Medical Scribe.  

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation are scored by the following types:  highest score goes to PAs, MDs, DOs, NPs, middle score goes to Professor(s), other Health Care Professionals, Supervisors who don’t meet above categories, and lowest score goes to Personal References, Friends, etc. The two best letters are used for scoring.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Counties Advantage:  Applicants who reside in one of the following northeastern Pennsylvania counties will be advantaged in the scoring of their application materials:  Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Sullivan

Combined Advantages:  Applicants who have graduated from Misericordia University and live in one of the northeastern Pennsylvania counties identified above will receive both of the advantages previously described.

Combined Advantages:  Applicants who are on active duty reserve status or are a United States Military Veteran and live in one of the northeastern Pennsylvania counties identified above will receive both of the advantages previously described.

POST INTERVIEW REVIEW FOR ACCEPTANCE:

Applicants who are invited to and participate in the on-campus interview are considered for program admission and will be evaluated and scored on the following criteria:

  • Understanding of the Misericordia University PA Program
  • Self-Awareness of the Role of Physician assistants in the Healthcare
  • Patient Care Experience
  • Commitment and Preparation to the PA Profession
  • Experience in Diversity and Inclusion
  • Good Communication Skills
  • Maturity, Professionalism, and Integrity

Interview Day

The prospective student interview includes:

  • Welcome and overview of the MUPA Program with Q&A time.
  • Individual interview with PA faculty and CHSE faculty (please refer to the post interview review for acceptance above)
  • Facilities tour

What to expect following the interview:

  • Top ranked applicants will be notified of acceptance into the program shortly after interview day.
  • Alternative applicants will be waitlisted and notified shortly after interview day.
  • Remaining applicants will receive a letter of decline.
  • An attempt will be made to fill all vacant spots in the upcoming cohort. Alternate applicants on the waitlist will be notified if a vacant seat is available.
  • Accepted applicants must meet all admission criteria by June 1, 2022 in order to matriculate in July, 2022.

 

PA PROGRAM POLICY: EMPLOYMENT DURING THE PROGRAM

ARC PA STANDARD A3.15: The program must define, publish, consistently apply and make readily available to students upon admission:

e) policy for student employment while enrolled in the program,

Misericordia University does not prohibit admission into or progression through the PA program if a student determines that he or she must work while in the program. HOWEVER, students are strongly discouraged from working during their time in the PA program.

If a student chooses to work during the academic year, the work schedule must not interfere with class performance, course schedules, or clinical rotation schedules.

PA PROGRAM POLICY:  STUDENTS NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE OR SOLICIT CLINICAL SITES OR PRECEPTORS

ARC-PA Standard A3.03 The program must define, publish, make readily available and consistently apply a policy for prospective and enrolled students that they must not be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors.

Although students may participate in the selection of a clinical site for an elective rotation, or may request to establish a particular clinical rotation, no student will be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. The director of clinical education will be responsible to coordinate all clinical experience activities, including evaluation of any clinical experience locations and preceptors that students help to establish.

New Student Orientation Day

Prior to first day of classes student will attend a New Student Orientation Day. Laptops with wireless compatibility, Camera, Microphone, MS Windows 10, and the most up to date versions of Google Chrome, Fire Fox, and Internet Explorer are required.  Please bring your laptop to New Student Orientation Day.

New Student Orientation day will include:

  • A meet and greet with the PA Program Faculty and Staff.
  • All PA Program Policies review.
  • PA Program tuition and fees including MU refund policies, curriculum, calendar, and schedules review.
  • Lunch will be served.
  • Representatives from Campus Safety, Student Help Desk, Blackboard, Library, Student Services, Student Financial Aid, and Health and Wellness Center will present orientation information.
  • Medical equipment demonstration and purchase guidance.

DEPOSIT:  Candidates will be notified in writing of acceptance and will be given two weeks to reply and pay a $500 nonrefundable deposit.

Sequence of Required Courses


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