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MUSC Bulletin | College of Health Professions

Physician Assistant Studies | Course Descriptions

PA-606. Human Anatomy. Human Anatomy is a broad, survey course that provides students with a detailed examination of all structural aspects of the human body. The course is presented by regions and allows students to learn and assimilate the morphology of different areas of the human body in an organized and logical fashion. Students are expected to become skilled at identification of anatomical structures, and are also expected to become proficient at recognition of structural arrangements and structural relationships.  Anatomical structures are correlated with radiographic images in each of the regions studied. The course content is designed to correlate with important clinical problems that students may encounter as practitioners, and students are encouraged to start acquainting themselves with ways that anatomical alterations can affect normal function. The course is taught via lectures, class discussions, and laboratory dissection/prosection of human cadavers. Students have the opportunity to further their knowledge of anatomy by using computer-assisted technology, which is available online. Prerequisite:  Enrollment into the Physician Assistant Program. 6 s.h. Summer.

PA-607. Introduction to the Physician Assistant Profession. This seminar course is designed specifically for the PA student covering the following topic areas: the healthcare delivery system and the PA role and legal standing in US health care, federal programs and initiatives in health care delivery, payment mechanisms and reimbursement policies, federal health care policy, as well as risk management and quality assurance. Collaboration with other health care providers in the team approach to patient care will be emphasized. A critical review of selected readings will be required for classroom discussions. Prerequisite:  Enrollment into the Physician Assistant Program. 1 s.h. Summer.  

PA-614. Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I. This course provides an introduction to the study of the disease process.  Emphasis has been placed on the integration of the essential anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, and medical terminology relevant to medical problems encountered in the primary care setting. The differential diagnosis of symptoms and physical findings along with interpretation of laboratory and radiographic tests appropriate to each system is discussed. Topics include dermatology, hematology, neurology, psychiatry and infectious diseases.  The course will use lecture format and is integrated with the Clinical Problem Solving course. Prerequisites:  Human Anatomy, Clinical Laboratory Medicine.  Co-requisites:  Clinical Problem Solving I, Integrated Physiology-Pathophysiology I, Physical Diagnosis. 4 s.h. Fall

PA-615. Fundamental of Clinical Medicine II. This course continues the introduction to the study of the disease process. Emphasis is placed on the integration of the essential anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, and medical terminology relevant to medical problems encountered in the primary care setting. The differential diagnosis of symptoms and physical findings along with interpretation of laboratory and radiographic tests appropriate to each system is discussed. Topics include endocrine, respiratory, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. The course will use lecture format and is integrated with the Clinical Problem Solving course, as well as with Pathophysiology II.  Pharmacotherapeutics I presents the pharmacotherapeutics used in managing the disease processes discussed in this course.  Prerequisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I, Clinical Problem Solving I, Integrated Physiology-Pathophysiology I.  Co-requisites:  Clinical Problem Solving II, Integrated Physiology-Pathophysiology II, Pediatrics. 4 s.h. Spring.

PA-616. Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine III. This course continues the introduction to the study of the disease process. Emphasis is placed on the integration of the essential anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, and medical terminology relevant to medical problems encountered in the primary care setting. The differential diagnosis of symptoms and physical findings along with interpretation of laboratory and radiographic tests appropriate to each system is discussed. Topics include obstetrics, gynecology, nephrology, urology, nutrition, and complementary and alternative medicine. The course will use lecture format and is integrated with the Clinical Problem Solving III course.  Pharmacotherapeutics II present the pharmacotherapeutics used in managing the disease processes discussed in this course. Prerequisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II, Clinical Problem Solving II, Integrated Physiology-Pathophysiology II, Pharmacotherapeutics I.  Co-requisites:  Clinical Problem Solving III, Pharmacotherapeutics II. 3 s.h. Summer.

PA-617. Clinical Problem Solving I. Clinical Problem Solving will consolidate the topics of medicine by developing a logical methodology of assessment of disease processes or syndromes, and subsequent intervention. Students will master the ability to generate differential diagnoses specific to the patients’ presenting complaints, signs and symptoms and laboratory data.  A problem-based learning format is used. Prerequisites:  Human Anatomy, Clinical Laboratory Medicine.  Co-requisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I, Physical Diagnosis. 1 s.h. Fall.

PA-618. Clinical Problem Solving II. Clinical Problem Solving II is a continuation of Clinical Problem Solving I. Prerequisites:  Clinical Problem Solving I, Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I, Physical Diagnosis.  Co-requisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II, Pharmacotherapeutics I, Pediatrics.  1 s.h. Spring.  

PA-619. Clinical Problem Solving III. Clinical Problem Solving III is a continuation of Clinical Problem Solving II. Prerequisites:  Clinical Problem Solving II, Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II. Co-requisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine III. 1 s.h. Summer.  

PA-624. Pharmacotherpeutics I. This course teaches the fundamental principles of pharmacotherapy by presenting the rational for treatments as well as the recommended treatment plans for a specific category of disease processes, symptoms and conditions in sequence with body system topics of PA614 Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I.  Students learn to individualize medication regimens based on drug attributes, clinical evidence, comorbidities, drug mechanism of action, drug safety, monitoring parameters and treatment cost.  Lecture material is augmented by case-based exercises designed to develop pharmacotherapy decision making skills. Prerequisite: Principles of Pharmacology 2 s.h. Fall

PA-625. Pharmacotherapeutics II. This course is a continuation of PA 624 and teaches pharmacotherapy by presenting the rational for treatments as well as the recommended treatment plans for a specific range of disease processes, symptoms and conditions in sequence with body system topics within PA 615 Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II.  Students will continue to learn how to individualize medication regimens based on drug attributes, clinical evidence, comorbidities, drug mechanism of action, drug safety, monitoring parameters and treatment cost.  Lecture material is augmented by case-based exercises designed to develop pharmacotherapy decision making skills. Prerequisite: Pharmacotherapeutics I 2 s.h. Spring.

PA-626. Pharmacotherapeutics III. This course is a continuation of PA 625 and teaches pharmacotherapy by presenting the rational for treatments as well as the recommended treatment plans for a specific range of disease processes, symptoms and conditions in sequence with body system topics within PA 616 Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine III.  Students will continue to learn how to individualize medication regimens based on drug attributes, clinical evidence, comorbidities, drug mechanism of action, drug safety, monitoring parameters and treatment cost.  Lecture material is augmented by case-based exercises designed to develop pharmacotherapy decision making skills. Prerequisite: Pharmacotherapeutics II  2 s.h. Summer.

PA-627. Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Applications I. Instruction and supervised performance of physical diagnosis methods, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic interventions are taught within this course.  These necessary clinical skills prepare the first year physician assistant student for the clinical year clerkships. Methods of instruction include: lecture, demonstration, hands-on experience, video, and small group experience. Prerequisite: Human Anatomy and Human Physiology and Basic Pathophysiologic Concepts. 4 s.h. Fall.

PA-628. Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Applications II. This course is a continuation of PA 627 Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Applications I. Instruction continues related to physical diagnosis skills, as well as additional diagnostic and therapeutic skills.  The course includes opportunities for patient interactions conducting physical examinations, in addition to service learning experiences related to health promotion and disease prevention. Prerequisite: Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Application I 4 s.h. Spring.

PA-630. Bioethics and Behavioral Medicine. This course introduces key concepts related to medical law, ethics and bioethics and uses a case based approach to explore the central moral, philosophical, and social problems in health care. Students reflect on the relationships among moral, professional and legal obligations of physician assistants, including those involving honesty, and respect for patient well-being, autonomy, dignity and confidentiality. Normal and abnormal psychological development of children, adults and seniors is discussed; students acquire skills in basic counseling, patient education, motivating, interviewing, substance abuse screening, and violence identification. 1 s.h. Summer.

PA-632. Principles of Pharmacology. The intent of the Principles of Pharmacology course is to introduce students to the principles of pharmacology and to lay a foundation for their future study of pharmacotherapeutics. This course introduces the pharmacologic principles and concepts which are paramount to making sound pharmacotherapeutic decisions. The course explores how medications are delivered to the body, how they are eliminated from the body and how they work in the body. Key concepts include mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, drug targets, pharmaceutical math, drug toxicity and drug interactions. Lecture material is augmented by case-based exercises designed to develop pharmacotherapy decision making skills. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Physician Assistant Program 1 s.h. Summer.

PA-635. Rural Healthcare System IP Experience.  This three week clinical elective experience is designed to provide students the opportunity to transition from the didactic to the clinical phase of physician assistant education in a structured environment. Students will be assigned to a community healthcare system in a region of South Carolina. The course will enhance the educational experience through observational learning and increase student awareness of care within rural and medically underserved areas. Knowledge application will entail course content from the health care delivery systems course and include inpatient treatment models, as well as long term care in rural and underserved communities. Structured web-based learning will support knowledge acquisition while learning best practices. 2 s.h. Summer

PA-640. Community Health and Preventive Medicine. Community Health & Preventive Medicine, including general topics in epidemiology, risk assessment, intervention strategies, public health considerations in selected disease states, immunizations, environmental health, behavioral considerations in prevention and assessment of disease and health, implications for individual and population-based patient care, provider education and resource utilization. Prerequisites:  None. 2 s.h. Fall.

PA-643. Human Physiology & Basic Pathophysiologic Concepts. This course provides an in depth discussion of normal human physiology which builds upon prerequisite coursework. Course topics, where applicable, will be integrated with PA 606 - Human Anatomy. In addition, the following basic pathophysiologic concepts will be discussed in preparation for the subsequent integrated medicine and pathophysiology curricula. 2 s.h. Summer.

PA-645. Clinical Applications. This course builds clinical skills needed to negotiate the second (clinical) year successfully. Skills included are: Suturing and wound care, IV techniques, general and directed history taking, general and directed physical exams, operating room procedures, slit lamp exams, lumbar puncture, arthrocentesis, inhalation therapy, and others. Prerequisites: None. 4 s.h. Spring.

PA-646. Pediatrics I. The course introduces the PA student  to the fundamentals of pediatric medicine. Maternal -fetal health, common topics in  neonatology, ambulatory pediatrics  (growth , nutrition, development,  and immunizations ) are first presented. Subsequently , the following pediatric  topics are addressed:  Common  pediatric  genetic syndromes,  Pediatric  respiratory disorders, Pediatric infectious diseases , Pediatric hematologic disorders, Pediatric oncologic disorders, Pediatric fluids and electrolytes, and Pediatric cardiology. An emphasis will be placed on recognition, evaluation, treatment, follow-up, and complications of pediatric medical conditions.  Prerequisites: Enrollment in the PA Program. 3 s.h. Spring.

PA-648. Pediatrics II. This course is a continuation of PA 646 Pediatrics I and will further develop the PA student's general knowledge base regarding pediatric medical disorders among the following content areas: Pediatric Orthopedics, Pediatric Rheumatology, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Toxic Ingestions, Topics in Adolescent Medicine, Pediatric Psychiatry , Pediatric Endocrinology, Pediatric Growth Disorders, Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Pediatric Nephrology, Pediatric Urology, and Pediatric Dermatology.  An emphasis will be placed on recognition, evaluation, treatment, follow-up, and complications of the medical conditions discussed.  Prerequisites:  PA 646 Pediatrics I.  I  s.h. Summer

PA-650. Emergency Medicine and Surgical Care. Initial, life-saving procedures for the critically ill and seriously injured are presented to the students. Shock, trauma, burns, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular resuscitation and other emergencies are covered. Additionally, students are certified in advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Surgery and surgical techniques, wound healing, pre- and post-operative management are also studied. Surgical diseases of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and pulmonary system are covered, as well as common outpatient surgical procedures. Prerequisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II, Clinical Applications, Clinical Problem Solving II. 4 s.h. Summer.

PA-651. Geriatrics. This course provides the student with a broad overview of challenges unique to caring for our aging population. The purpose of the course is to facilitate students’ ability to perform quality geriatric patient care and to foster collaboration of the students with other professionals working in geriatrics by fieldwork at interdisciplinary geriatric settings.  Co-requisites:  Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine III. 1 s.h. Summer.

PA-662. Pathophysiology I. This course reviews the basic physiologic regulatory mechanisms responsible for maintenance of homeostasis in the normal human and introduces the pathophysiologic alterations which occur in these mechanisms leading to specific disease processes. It also presents a molecular and genetic basic of disease, and it provides clinical correlations which support concurrent coursework involving the treatment of disease. Understanding the mechanisms of disease is essential in the role of the physician assistant. Prerequisites: None. 2 s.h. Fall.

PA-663. Pathophysiology II. This course will build on the knowledge gained in PA-660, reviewing the basic physiologic regulatory mechanisms responsible for maintenance of homeostasis in the normal human and introduces the pathophysiologic alterations which occur in these mechanisms leading to specific disease processes. It focuses on organ systems including respiratory, circulatory, renal, GI and endocrine, providing clinical correlations which support concurrent coursework involving the treatment of disease. Prerequisites: PA-660. 2 s.h. Spring.

PA-690. Graduate Project I. This three-credit course sequence will be scheduled as follows:  PA-690 Graduate Project I, Spring and PA-691 Graduate Project II during the didactic year and during the Fall of the clinical year of the program. The outcome for the graduate project is for the student to develop a physician assistant practice-oriented project wherein he/she employs the principles of evidence-based practice by integrating current published medical research. In consultation with a faculty member the student will develop a clinically relevant question and/or community project. The student will be required to present his/her graduate project to the faculty and the PA program and the College of Health Professions community at the conclusion of the course.1 s.h. Spring.

PA-691. Graduate Project II. 1 s.h. Summer.

PA-692. Graduate Project III. 1 s.h. Fall.

PA-695. Research Methods for Health Professionals.  This course will introduce the Physician Assistant student to the research process as informed consumers and potential future participants in research. Topics covered include the characteristics of a research study, methods of control in experimental research, internal and external validity, experimental research designs, evaluation of research, statistics and test construction. Also addressed are scientific writing, strategies for conducting literature searches, research ethics and elements of a research proposal. 3 s.h. Fall.

IP 710 - Transforming Healthcare. The course goal is to lay the foundations for beginning (first year) professions students to understand the complexities of the health care system and the role of interprofessional collaboration to improve the system. Through an interprofessional context, students will explore the art and science of teamwork and communication skills, cultural competency, ethical issues, healthcare disparities and social determinants of health. This course addresses the university's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) goals #2 (e.g., students learn more about the other professions) and #3 (e.g., students apply interprofessional teamwork competencies in a learning setting) and will provide a mechanism to evaluate student learning outcomes associated with each goal.2 s.h.

The Clinical Year
The clinical year begins after successful completion of all the didactic courses. Students participate in a variety of clinical clerkships at various medical institutions during the final year of their PA education at MUSC.  A student earns one credit per one week of clinical learning experience.  Students are required to attend a minimum of 40 hours a week at the clinical site and be on call, work shifts and weekends depending on the type of medical service or facility.  Each year, a calendar is developed that provides for individual student clinical learning modules that are ordinarily five weeks in length.  Required clinical training will include experiences in Pediatrics, General Medicine, Women’s Health, Primary Care Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, and Mental Health.  The student is provided one elective clerkship in a primary care area of medicine of their suggestion, and when approved, the elective is provided during an appropriate semester.

The following is a listing of second year clinical learning experiences offered, during which the student assimilates the requisite clinical knowledge and patient experience to be a competent member of the professional healthcare team.

PA 670.  Clinical Clerkship I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII. Eight supervised, five-week clinical courses provide students with hands-on clinical experience and evaluation into the medical and surgical care for pediatric and adult patients.  Students are actively engaged in the delivery of care in inpatient, outpatient and long term care settings. The clerkship experiences offer training in eight distinct disciplines, which are family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, women's health (includes obstetrics and gynecology), mental health, emergency medicine, general surgery, and long term care.  The students evaluate medical and surgical patients and follow their daily progress; thereby developing the ability to elicit history and physical findings, correlate those findings along with the patients' physiologic and biochemical data and emotional state in order to formulate a plan for patient management.  This ability to analyze, synthesize and make decisions is fundamental to the clinical clerkship experience.  Students are also given opportunities to develop skills and demonstrate competency in performing and interpreting certain medical procedures and tasks.  Attendance at rounds, and an orientation to the intensive care unit, grand rounds and medical conferences may be required of students.  In certain settings, there are opportunities to work with a variety of house staff or related health professionals to gain a broader understanding of interdisciplinary health delivery and use of medical technologies.  Students also receive instruction and evaluation in professional competencies including relating to colleagues, communicating with patients, understanding the PA role and limitations, self confidence, reliability, dependability, attitude and appearance. 5 s.h. each.

PA-685. Clinical Clerkship Elective. This elective clerkship experience is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to have additional hands-on clinical experience in any of the eight distinct disciplines, which are family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, women's health (includes obstetrics and gynecology), mental health, emergency medicine, general surgery and long term care, or to gain experience in any specialty or subspecialty of medicine of their choice.  Students are actively engaged in the delivery of care in inpatient, outpatient and long term care settings.  The clerkship experiences offer training in eight distinct disciplines, which are family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, women's health (includes obstetrics and gynecology), mental health, emergency medicine, general surgery, and long term care.  The students evaluate medical and surgical patients and follow their daily progress; thereby developing the ability to elicit history and physical findings, correlate those findings along with the patients' physiologic and biochemical data and emotional state in order to formulate a plan for patient management.  This ability to analyze, synthesize and make decisions is fundamental to the clinical clerkship experience.  Students are also given opportunities to develop skills and demonstrate competency in performing and interpreting certain medical procedures and tasks.  Attendance at rounds, and an orientation to the intensive care unit, grand rounds and medical conferences may be required of students.  In certain settings, there are opportunities to work with a variety of house staff or related health professionals to gain a broader understanding of interdisciplinary health delivery and use of medical technologies.  Students also receive instruction and evaluation in professional competencies including relating to colleagues, communicating with patients, understanding the PA role and limitations, self confidence, reliability, dependability, attitude and appearance. 5 s.h.

Subspecialty Elective. The subspecialty elective is a two-week supervised clinical experience that provides the PA student with the opportunity to select a medical specialty of interest to them. Suggested areas of study have been; dermatology, radiology, ENT, and gastrointerology, to name a few. This course is completed during an appropriate clerkship. This course is designed to provide a student with an overview of a medical specialty that the student would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience during the clinical year. 5 s.h.

 

 
Last Published with Edits:February 24, 2014 2:19 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: Fall 2013
 
 
 

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