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Physician Assistant Studies Curriculum

  • Course Schedule - Didactic Phase (Semesters I-IV)

     Course

    Semester/Course Title

    Credit Hours 

    Fall I
    PHAS 607a Regional Anatomy 5
    PHAS 633 Scientific Basis of Medicine I 3
    PHAS 650 Diagnostic Tests I 2
    PHAS 660 History and Physical Examination I 3
    PHAS 625 Clinical Pharmacology I 3
    PHAS 608 Clinical Medicine I 4
    20
    Winter I
    PHAS 607b Regional Anatomy 1
    1
    Spring I
    PHAS 609 Clinical Medicine II 4
    PHAS 626 Clinical Pharmacology II 3
    PHAS 651 Diagnostic Test II 2
    PHAS 620 Infectious Disease 3
    PHAS 634 Scientific Basis of Medicine II 2
    PHAS 640 Clinical Problem Solving I 3
    PHAS 661 History and Physical Examination II 3
    PHAS 671 Preventive Medicine 2
    22
    Summer I
    PHAS 610 Clinical Medicine III 4
    PHAS 635 Scientific Basis of Medicine III 2
    PHAS 630 Clinical Procedures I 3
    PHAS 641 Clinical Problem Solving II 3
    PHAS 627 Clinical Pharmacology III 3
    PHAS 652 Diagnostic Tests III 2
    PHAS 662 History and Physical Examination III 3
    PHAS 673 Psychiatry 3
    23
    Fall II
    PHAS 612 Obstetrics/Gynecology 3
    PHAS 614 Pediatrics 3
    PHAS 616 Surgery 2
    PHAS 618 Emergency Medicine 2
    PHAS 624 Issues in Practice 2
    PHAS 631 Clinical Procedures II 3
    PHAS 645 Crit. Appraisal of Med. Lit & Evidence-Based Medicine 2
    PHAS 642 Clinical Problem Solving III 3
    PHAS 672 Applied Ethics and Law 2
    22
    Total Didactic Year credits 88
    Winter II
    PHAS 675 Clerkship Preparation 2
    2
    Spring II
    PHAS 680 Capstone I 2
    PHAS 690 Clinical Education I 9
    11
    Summer II
    PHAS 691 Clinical Education II 6
    6
    Fall III
    PHAS 681 Capstone II 2
    PHAS 697 PANCE Preparation Seminar 2
    PHAS 692 Clinical Education III 9
    13
    Total Didactic Year Credits 88
    Total Clinical Year credits 32
    Total credits for PA Program 120


    ** At this time, the UMES PA Program does not award or grant advanced placement.


    Supervised Clinical Practice Education Clerkship Phase

    All courses must be taken in the semester/order listed, unless special circumstances (deceleration or leave of absence) interfere with a student’s ability to complete the curriculum as prescribed.  Requests to deviate from the prescribed curriculum for reasons other than those listed above will not be granted.  Students forced to deviate from the prescribed curriculum due to deceleration or leave of absence will be assigned an alternative curriculum by the PA Program’s Progress and Promotion Committee.  More detailed information regarding the didactic and clinical curriculums, including rules and regulations, can be found throughout the handbook.

    Course Descriptions

    (Note: Credit hours are in parentheses)

    PHAS 607a                  Regional Anatomy  (5) 
    This course focuses on the structure and function of the human body with emphasis on the head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat (HEENT), cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, genitourinary systems, gynecological, and neurological systems.  This course is designed to provide the student with an in-depth examination of the anatomical structure and function of the human body through cadaver dissection and lecture. This course will be enhanced with Blackboard and Echo 360, Classroom Capture software. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 607b                  Regional Anatomy (1)
    This course focuses on the structure and function of the human body with emphasis on the musculoskeletal system, including the upper and lower limbs and back.  This course is designed to provide the student with an in-depth examination of the anatomical structure and function of the human body through cadaver dissection and lecture.  This course will be enhanced with Blackboard and Echo 360, Class Capture software. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 607A. 
    PHAS 608                    Clinical Medicine I (4)
    This course teaches the pathology of disease by body system and specialty.  Fundamental elements of clinical medicine such as epidemiology, precipitating factors, etiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, clinical presentation and manifestations, red flags, diagnostics, clinical intervention, management of diseases and disorders, clinical pearls and differential diagnoses as appropriately indicated are covered.  This course focuses on otolaryngologic, ophthalmological, integumentary and musculoskeletal body systems.  Correlated reviews of relevant pathology and radiology are also incorporated. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 609                    Clinical Medicine II (4)
    This course teaches the pathology of disease by body system and specialty.  Fundamental elements of clinical medicine such as epidemiology, precipitating factors, etiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, clinical presentation and manifestations, red flags, diagnostics, clinical intervention, management of diseases and disorders, clinical pearls and differential diagnoses as appropriately indicated are covered.  This course focuses on neurological, psychosocial/psychiatric, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and reproductive body systems.  Correlated reviews of relevant pathology and radiology are also incorporated. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 608.
    PHAS 610                    Clinical Medicine III (4)
    This course teaches the pathology of disease by body system and specialty.  Fundamental elements of clinical medicine such as epidemiology, precipitating factors, etiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, clinical presentation and manifestations, red flags, diagnostics, clinical intervention, management of diseases and disorders, clinical pearls and differential diagnoses as appropriately indicated are covered.  This course focuses on hematological, cardiovascular and pulmonary body systems, infectious disease and genetic anomalies will be covered.  Correlated reviews of relevant pathology and radiology are also incorporated. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 609.
    PHAS 612                    Obstetrics/Gynecology (3)
    A comprehensive survey course that familiarizes the student with normal presentations and common problems in obstetrics and gynecology. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 614                    Pediatrics (3)
    Population based module focusing on pediatric issues. The course addresses etiology, epidemiology, genetics, clinical signs and symptoms, physical exam findings, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis for significant issues in the pediatric population. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 616                    Surgery (2)
    This course is designed to continue to sharpen the student’s knowledge of the concepts involved in the art of eliciting a surgical history as well as the skills required to perform a competent physical examination throughout all ages. It is recognized by the faculty and should likewise be recognized the students; that an effective provider understands that the patient history, taken by a skilled listener is the foundation, and a thorough accurate physical exam is the cornerstone of medicine. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 618                    Emergency Medicine (2)
    In this course, students learn treatment of trauma and medical disorders commonly presenting to the emergency department. Taught in a case-based format, the emphasis is on the priority of stabilizing patients with life-threatening trauma or illness and selecting appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 620                    Infectious Diseases (3)
    A comprehensive survey course on the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases seen in primary care medicine and organized by organ system. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 624                    Issues in Practice (2)
    This course provides an historical perspective of the Physician Assistant profession, as well as an investigation of current trends and issues. The course stresses the professional responsibilities in relation to the Physician Assistant’s role as a health care provider. Content relating to Physician Assistant professional organizations, professionalism, the medical team, program accreditation, graduate certification and re-certification, employment considerations and professional liability are included. Skills related to learning style, test taking, stress & time management are covered. Includes Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) competency acquisition. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 625                    Clinical Pharmacology I (3)
    In this course, students are introduced to pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetic and Pharmacotherapeutics principles that provide a foundation for the study of pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics.  Students will also learn how to write prescriptions.  Combined lecture and active learning exercises help students to demonstrate skills that a Physician Assistant needs to enhance patient care in clinical practice. This course focuses on pharmacology and therapeutics related to otolaryngological, ophthalmological, and integumentary musculoskeletal diseases and disorders. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 626                    Clinical Pharmacology II (3)
    In this course, students will continue to build a foundation in pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics principles learned in Clinical Pharmacology I.  Students will also continue to write prescriptions.  Combined lecture and active learning exercises will continue to help students demonstrate skills that a Physician Assistant needs to enhance patient care in clinical practice.  This course focuses on pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics related to neurological, psychosocial/psychiatric, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and reproductive diseases and disorders. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 625. 
    PHAS 627                    Clinical Pharmacology III (3)
    In this course, students will solidify an understanding of pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics principles learned in Clinical Pharmacology I and II.  Students will become proficient at writing prescriptions.  Combined lecture and active learning exercises will continue to help students demonstrate skills that a Physician Assistant needs to enhance patient care in clinical practice.  This course focuses on pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics related to hematological, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and infectious disease disorders.  Pharmacological treatments related to Infectious disease will also be covered this semester.  Treatment options involving genetic anomalies will be addressed in this course as well. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 626. 
    PHAS 630                    Clinical Procedures I (3)
    In this course, students employ knowledge, skills, and techniques learned in Patient Assessment to evaluate surgical patients. Students learn to perform procedures such as hand washing, sterile technique, intravenous insertions, Subcutaneous and intramuscular injection technique, suturing, wound care, nasogastric tube placement, and Foley catheter insertion. Prerequisite: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 631                    Clinical Procedures II (3)
    This course is a continuation of Clinical Procedures I.  Students will learn to perform procedures such as casting and splinting, surgical scrub, gloving and gowning, minor surgical procedures, chest tube placement, ET intubation, as well as the principles of surgery, including pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative care. Prerequisite: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and completion of PHAS 630. 
    PHAS 633                    Scientific Basis of Medicine I (3)
    In this course, students learn integrative human physiology and pathophysiology involving concepts of the nervous, skeletal, integumentary, cardiovascular system, renal, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive, gastrointestinal systems with an emphasis upon homeostatic mechanisms and etiologies of disease.  Students learn the interrelationships of function and dysfunction at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and systemic levels. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 634                    Scientific Basis of Medicine II (2)
    This course provides students with a working knowledge of the major anatomical regions and structures of the body in relation to the neurological, psychosocial/psychiatric, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and reproductive body systems.  Emphasis is placed upon the relationships of components within a specific region, as well as topographical and functional anatomy as each relates to physical examination skills and clinical applications.  Concurrently, students learn integrative human physiology and pathophysiology involving concepts of cell biology reactive to the stated body systems. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 633. 
    PHAS 635                    Scientific Basis of Medicine III (2)
    This course provides students with a working knowledge of the major anatomical regions and structures of the body in relation to the hematological, cardiovascular, pulmonary body systems and infectious disease. Emphasis is placed upon the relationships of components within a specific region, as well as topographical and functional anatomy as each relates to physical examination skills and clinical applications.  Concurrently, students learn integrative human physiology and pathophysiology involving concepts of cell biology reactive to the stated body systems. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and completion of PHAS 634. 
    PHAS 640                    Clinical Problem Solving I (3)
    This first of an on-going series designed to instruct the student in the use of critical thinking skills to effectively evaluate patients and provide quality patient care, provides the student with the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in other courses to the assessment and care of patients across the lifespan, including preventative care, impact of social determinants of health and psychosocial issues, and maximization of health and well-being. A team-based learning approach is used to support the development of critical thinking skills necessary for the practice of medicine.  Diagnosis and management decisions related to disorders and diseases of neurological, psychosocial/psychiatric, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and reproductive body systems are explored.  The roles of other members of the healthcare team will be identified and incorporated into the learning modules. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 641                    Clinical Problem Solving II (3)
    This second of an on-going series designed to instruct the student in the use of critical thinking skills to effectively evaluate patients and provide quality patient care, provides the student with the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in other courses to the assessment and care of patients across the lifespan, including preventative care, impact of social determinants of health and psychosocial issues, and maximization of health and well-being. A team-based learning approach is used to support the development of critical thinking skills necessary for the practice of medicine.  Diagnosis and management decisions related to disorders and diseases of hematological, cardiovascular and pulmonary body systems, infectious disease and genetic anomalies are explored.  The roles of other members of the healthcare team will be identified and incorporated into the learning modules. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 640.
    PHAS 642                    Clinical Problem Solving III (3)
    This third of an on-going series designed to instruct the student in the use of critical thinking skills to effectively evaluate patients and provide quality patient care, provides the student with the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in other courses to the assessment and care of patients across the lifespan, including preventative care, impact of social determinants of health and psychosocial issues, and maximization of health and well-being.  A team-based learning approach is used to support the development of critical thinking skills necessary for the practice of medicine.  Diagnosis and management decisions related to disorders and diseases of gastroenterology, endocrinology, GU, reproduction, OB/GYN, renal, orthopedics, rheumatology and psychiatry are explored.  The roles of other members of the healthcare team will be identified and incorporated into the learning modules. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 641. 
    PHAS 645                    Critical Appraisal of Medical Literature and Evidence-Based Medicine (2)
    This course will cover the importance of evidence-based medicine through discovery of how basic statistics, research methods and ethical standards are utilized in research.  Students will learn to interpret various types of clinical articles to answer clinical questions, preparing students to apply evidence-based medicine to their clinical practices. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 650                    Diagnostic Tests I (2)
    In this course, students will learn basic terminology related to tests and testing, such as test of choice and gold standard.  They will also learn how primary and differential diagnoses are used to order labs, imaging and other diagnostic studies needed to rule in or rule out disease processes and disorders.  Critical skills required to appropriately order laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic studies based upon patient presentation and best practices, to interpret results and to know what to do with the findings will be honed.  Students will also learn how to calculate needed values from given values when necessary.  Case-based integrated learning takes place in a series of small group case exercises, concurrently covering the same diseases and disorders that are being covered in Clinical Medicine.  Includes blood-borne pathogen competency acquisition. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 651                    Diagnostic Tests II (2)
    In this course, students will build upon basic terminology related to tests and testing from Diagnostic Testing 1, such as test of choice and gold standard.  They will also learn how primary and differential diagnoses are used to order labs, imaging and other diagnostic studies needed to rule in or rule out disease processes and disorders.  Critical skills required to appropriately order laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic studies based upon patient presentation and best practices, to interpret results and to know what to do with the findings will be honed.  Students will also learn how to calculate needed values from given values when necessary. Case-based integrated learning takes place in a series of small group case exercises, concurrently covering the same diseases and disorders that are being covered in Clinical Medicine.  Includes blood-borne pathogen competency acquisition. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 650. 
    PHAS 652                    Diagnostic Tests III (2)
    In this course, students master terminology related to tests and testing, such as test of choice and gold standard.  They will also learn how primary and differential diagnoses are used to order labs, imaging and other diagnostic studies needed to rule in or rule out disease processes and disorders.  Critical skills required to appropriately order laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic studies based upon patient presentation and best practices, to interpret results and to know what to do with the findings will be honed.  Students will also learn how to calculate needed values from given values when necessary.  Case-based integrated learning takes place in a series of small group case exercises, concurrently covering the same diseases and disorders that are being covered in Clinical Medicine.  Includes blood-borne pathogen competency acquisition. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 651. 
    PHAS 660                    History and Physical Examination I (3)
    This course is designed to introduce students to the art of patient history taking and documentation.  Students will learn how to properly obtain and document patient encounters, utilizing appropriate communication skills.  The content includes medical vocabulary, professional conduct, patient interviewing and fundamental aspects of the adult history and physical examination format with variants involving the newborn, pediatric and adolescent patients.  During this course, students will be taught how to elicit and document a full history and physical examination.  This course begins to prepare students for clinical experiences next semester. Prerequisites:  Admission to the Physician Assistant program. 
    PHAS 661                    History and Physical Examination II (3)
    This course teaches the foundational knowledge required to systematically perform a comprehensive physical examination, setting the course for best-practice clinical approaches.  After the foundation is set, the course focuses on pragmatically approaching and diagnosing diseases and disorders of the otolaryngological, ophthalmological, integumentary and musculoskeletal body systems based upon patient complaint, history and presentation.  Students will also learn components of a well-child pediatric history and physical examination. Prerequisites: Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. and satisfactory completion of PHAS 660. 
    PHAS 662                    History and Physical Examination III (3)
    This course builds on skills learned in History & Physical Examination II, continuing to focus on relevant history and physical examination skills needed to pragmatically approach and diagnose diseases and disorders.  Students will learn how to clinically approach and assess diseases and disorders of the neurological, psychosocial/psychiatric, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and reproductive body systems based upon patient complaint, history and presentation.  Students will also learn components of a well-adult history and physical examination, as well as the nuances of obtaining a special needs population history or performing an examination. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of PHAS 661. 
    PHAS 671                    Preventive Medicine (2)
    This course is an introduction to core public health concepts in an attempt to inform clinical practice regarding population health. The fields of preventive medicine, environmental/ occupational health, and public health policy/ advocacy will be explored. Students will gain a conceptual and practical understanding of mitigating health care barriers, health maintenance, disaster preparedness, and behavioral change communication strategies. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program. 
    PHAS 672                    Applied Ethics & Law (3)
    This course addresses biomedical ethical concepts as related to practical medical decision-making and problem solving. Students study risk management strategies and the legal definitions of, and their responsibilities toward, informed consent and confidentiality. Ethical principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice will be discussed. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 673                    Psychiatry (3)
    This course will examine the most significant power of a health care provider to act as a behavioral change agent and a catalyst for patients to modify a variety of self-injurious life styles or habits.  A health care provider, such as a physician assistant, has the capacity to assist patients to make such changes not only through technologic expertise, but in his/her ability to educate patients in daily healthy living. Through the use of lecture on the principles of behavioral science, this course explores how a physician assistant may appropriately assess normal and abnormal human behavior including common psychiatric disorders.  It will also provide a knowledge base for the different treatment regimens that are utilized to treat psychiatric disorders. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program.
    PHAS 675                    Clerkship Preparation (2)
    This course is designed to transition students from their academic experiences to clinical experiences to clinical practice.  Topics will include issues students will encounter during clerkships, including medical ethics, patient safety principles, clinical setting communications, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Advance Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS) renewal, Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS),  professionalism, quality improvement, prevention of medical errors, risk management and an in-depth discussion of program and professional requirements for progressing through the clinical year.  They will also prepare for formative examinations following most clinical clerkships.  Students will be introduced to continuing medical education activities. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of didactic year courses.
    PHAS 680                    Capstone I (2)
    The student will be required to develop a Capstone project based upon the previously developed research proposal. The project is selected from a menu of potential approaches, such as a traditional quasi-experimental study, an evidence-based medicine question, case report, and comprehensive literature review. The student will formally present the findings to the University community during the Capstone II course. This course takes place during the clinical year and involves students meeting with the course coordinator and advisor periodically throughout the year. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of didactic year courses. 
    PHAS 681                    Capstone II (2)
    This course provides each student the opportunity to present results of their individual Capstone project or research topic, to synthesize previous study and work experience, and to demonstrate an understanding of the program and profession's principles. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of didactic year courses. 
    PHAS 690, 691, 692    Clinical Education I, II, III (3 Credits Per Clinical Rotation/Discipline)
    This course is designed to provide the PA student with the basics necessary to build a solid foundation for the evaluation, documentation, diagnosis and treatment of problems common in family medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery and one elective. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of didactic year courses. 
    PHAS 697                    PANCE Preparation Seminar (2)
    This course prepares students for successful completion of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), necessary for entering medical practice.  Students learn strategies for successful study and successful completion of board-style exams, as well as an intense overview of medical knowledge at the end of this course to help prepare them for the PANCE.  This course provides a summative evaluation tool to measure cognitive, motor and affective domains at a point near a student’s completion of the clinical portion of the program.  Students perform an objective standardized clinical examination (OSCE) in order to demonstrate competencies in interpersonal skills, comprehensive physical examination skills and professional bearing.  Students will complete an end-of-year written examination providing proof of medical knowledge and clinical competence. Prerequisites:  Admittance to the Physician Assistant Program and satisfactory completion of didactic year courses. 


    Resources

    Academic Calendar
    Physician Assistant Program Handbook (2019-2020)