Physician Assistant: Additional Details

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Applicants and students of the Physician Assistant Program should be aware of the following:

Our program seeks to educate individuals in becoming knowledgeable, compassionate and spiritually uplifting healthcare providers. Whether they practice locally, nationally, or globally, the PA program graduates individuals who embrace a mission of service to others.


The Physician Assistant program epitomizes our university's concepts of nurture, excellence, faith, and stewardship. These pillars embody our mission and the goals for our program and graduates.


Program Goals

Goal Measures

Goal Implementation Success

Proficiency in obtaining a thorough medical history and performance of a complete physical examination.

First and second year Objective Structured Clinical Examinations.


Effective communication with fellow healthcare team members, family members and patients

First year Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and second year preceptor evaluations.


The ability to care and demonstrate compassion and understanding while being supportive and willing to provide superior patient care

First year Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and second year preceptor evaluations.


A functional understanding of disease processes and injuries and be able to form appropriate differential and final diagnoses

First and second year Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and second year preceptor evaluations.


Appropriate utilization and interpretation of medical diagnostics

Second year preceptor evaluations and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations.


The capacity and ability to apply critical thinking into the evaluation and care of patients

Second year preceptor evaluations and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations.


Basic knowledge of research designs and statistical methods and apply them to critical appraisal of scientific studies to enhance the graduate’s ability to diagnose and treat patients

Success in Clinical Research Methods course and capstone project.


The ability to conduct one’s self in an ethical and moral manner

Ongoing evaluation of professionalism using Professional Development Assessment Tool.


The capacity to address the spiritual needs of patients

Success in Role and Fidelity course as well as second year preceptor evaluations.


Responsible and understanding behavior regarding social, community and environmental mores

Second year preceptor evaluations.


A determination to engage in life-long learning

Results of graduate student exit surveys.


The ability to pursue appropriate steps toward board certification, licensure and employment as a Physician Assistant

Student graduation and graduate student exit surveys.


Integrate diagnostic assessment skills with knowledge of patient presentation, pharmacology and health care subspecialties to synthesize appropriate treatment plans

Second year Summative and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations.



Medical Procedures Objectives

Upon completion students will:

  1. Understand the components and necessity of informed consent.
  2. Understand and apply all aspects of standard universal precautions.
  3. Demonstrate appropriate concepts associated with injections.
  4. Demonstrate the technique of administering sub Q and IM injections.
  5. Understand concepts associated with venipuncture including indications, contraindications, and complications.
  6. Demonstrate successful insertion of an IV line.
  7. Understand indications, contraindications, and complications associated with urinary bladder catheterization.
  8. Demonstrate successful insertion and removal of a urinary catheter.
  9. Understand the indications, contraindications, and complications of arterial puncture.
  10. Demonstrate successful performance of arterial puncture.

Suturing and Wound Objectives

Upon completion students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate hemostasis of a wound.
  2. Understand and demonstrating effective measures for the evaluation and removal of retained foreign bodies.
  3. Demonstrate effective exploration of a wound to determine damage of deep tissue structures such as tendon and muscle.
  4. Understand categories of wound healing to include: primary, secondary, and tertiary closure.
  5. Demonstrate choice and utilization of appropriate anesthetics.
  6. Understand choice of the needles for specific anesthetic purposes.
  7. Demonstrate appropriate procedure for wound preparation.
  8. Understand and recognize various wound repair instruments and their proper use.
  9. Understand and recognize various suture materials, needles, and their appropriate application.
  10. Demonstrate basic suture skill techniques to include: simple interrupted, running, vertical and horizontal mattress sutures.
  11. Understand and demonstrate principles of strapping, splinting and a casting of extremity injuries.

General Surgical Objectives Physician assistants are often in need of various surgical skills in the practice of medicine. Understanding the complexities and special circumstances often encountered in a surgical setting and when dealing with surgical patients is an essential aspect of training. Graduates of the Adventist University Master of Science in Physician Assistant studies will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of perioperative patient care.
  2. Understand surgical suite procedures and at various common surgical treatments and interventions.

This program strives to develop competent primary care physician assistants who evaluate, manage, and impart exemplary health care to the general population. We expect students to complete all the program's academic and clinical requirements. The following technical standards specify which attributes our PA faculty consider necessary to thrive in the program.

  1. Observation: Students must be able to demonstrate sufficient capacity to observe demonstrations and experiments in basic and clinical sciences (including computer-assisted instruction), and must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance or close at hand.
  2. Communication: Students must be able to demonstrate sufficient capacity to communicate accurately and with clarity, in oral and written forms, with appropriate respect and sensitivity towards faculty, patients, and all members of the healthcare team.
  3. Motor: Students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. They must be able to grasp and manipulate tools and equipment, stand, sit, walk and move as needed in a patient care setting.
  4. Senses: Students must have sufficient use of the senses of vision, hearing, touch, and smell necessary to directly perform a physical examination.
  5. Problem solving: Students must demonstrate sufficient ability to learn to measure, calculate, analyze, and synthesize data to reach diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical judgments.
  6. Clinical skills: Students must demonstrate sufficient ability to learn and perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical procedures. All students will be expected to perform physical examinations on both males and females.
  7. Behavioral attributes: Students must possess the emotional health necessary for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with faculty, clinical staff and patients.
  8. Judgment:Students must be able to learn and demonstrate the ability to recognize limitations to their knowledge, skills ,and abilities, and to seek appropriate assistance with their identified limitations.
  9. Stability: Students must be able to learn to respond with precise, efficient, and appropriate action in emergency situations.
  10. Perseverance: Students are expected to possess the humility to accept criticism, and the diligence to successfully complete the physician assistant curriculum and enter the practice of medicine as a certified physician assistant.
  11. Cognition: The physician assistant program is a concentrated and fast-paced program. In addition, physician assistants must often make critical decisions when evaluating patients and must make these decisions in a timely manner. Students must be able to assimilate large amounts of information quickly and efficiently, as well as gather and analyze patient data in a timely manner. Health conditions and/or drugs (prescription, over the counter or "recreational") that alter perceptions, slow responses, or impair judgment are not compatible with success in the program. These may also affect the student's ability to obtain a license or to practice as a physician assistant.
  12. Capability: Physician Assistants work in a variety of clinical settings and may be required to stand for extended periods of time, assist in major surgery, hold retractors, place invasive devices, assist in labor and delivery, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, perform minor surgical procedures, or help move patients. Therefore, students must demonstrate sufficient capability to function safely, effectively, and efficiently in a classroom, laboratory, or clinical facility without any of the following: a surrogate, intermediate, companion (animal or human), translator, or assistive device that would interfere with or not be usable in a surgical or other patient care setting. Individuals with disabilities may be provided reasonable accommodations to fully participate in the program, as long as their condition does not interfere with patient care or safety, or lead to a high likelihood of absenteeism.

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA)

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 ARC-PA is an independent accrediting body authorized to accredit qualified PA educational programs leading to the professional credential, Physician Assistant (PA). Accreditation is a process of quality assurance that determines whether the program meets established standards for function, structure and performance. The ARC-PA does not accredit any academic degree awarded by the sponsoring institution of the PA program.

The ARC-PA encourages excellence in PA education through its accreditation process by establishing and maintaining standards of quality for educational programs. It awards accreditation to programs through a peer review process that includes documentation and periodic site visit evaluation to substantiate compliance with the Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education. The accreditation process is designed to encourage sound educational practices and innovation by programs and to stimulate continuous self-study and improvement.

In addition to establishing educational standards and fostering excellence in PA programs, the ARC-PA provides information and guidance to individuals and organizations regarding PA program accreditation.

American Academy of Physician Assistants

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 95,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.

AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. We work to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants. We also enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare.

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

NCCPA is the only certifying organization for physician assistants in the United States. Established as a not-for-profit organization in 1975, NCCPA is dedicated to assuring the public that certified physician assistants meet established standards of clinical knowledge and cognitive skills upon entry into practice and throughout their careers. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories have decided to rely on NCCPA certification as one of the criteria for licensure or regulation of physician assistants. More than 100,000 physician assistants have been certified by NCCPA since 1975, and more than 95,000 are certified today.

Florida Academy of Physician Assistants

The Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA) is a fully authorized state chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. FAPA dedicates itself to pursuing and maintaining the practice rights of Physician Assistants within the State of Florida through a strong lobbying effort. The organization also provides multiple continuing medical education opportunities and strives to keep all Physician Assistants practicing in the State of Florida up to date with the most current news. FAPAs website is a repository of information and forms required for practice in the state of Florida.


If you already have a Bachelor's degree but are missing some prerequisites, Post-Baccalaureate courses are available for you. Once admitted for Post-Baccalaureate studies, you'll be allowed to enroll in a minimum of 6 credits per trimester for up to one year in general education courses at ADU. Financial aid is available for up to one year.

Being admitted for Post-Baccalaureate studies does not guarantee admission into the program.

More Info about Post-baccalaureate Studies →


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