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Physician Assistant

Master of Science (M.S.) Physician Assistant

Westbrook College of Health Professions

Physician Assistant Program

Please call: 1-800-477-4UNE or 207-221-4225 for further information. Applications are available online from Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) www.caspaonline.org

Mission

The mission of the University of New England Physician Assistant Program is to prepare master's level primary care Physician Assistants to be highly skilled members of interprofessional healthcare teams. The program is committed to developing clinicians who will provide compassionate, competent and evidence-based patient-centered healthcare to people of all backgrounds and cultures throughout their lifespan. The Program places special emphasis on training clinicians who are knowledgeable about the healthcare needs of our aging population and have the skills and passion to provide healthcare to people in underserved rural and urban communities. 

Graduate Professional Competencies

The mission of the Program is accomplished by having graduates who meet the goals of the educational process.  Graduates of the Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Understand the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology and Pathophysiology and be able to utilize this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Understand the principles of pharmacotherapeutics and to apply them in the treatment of patients.
  • Elicit a detailed, accurate history and perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Understand how to order and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests in a cost efficient manner.
  • Present patient data and document it appropriately in the medical record.
  • Provide quality acute and ongoing patient care by appropriately delineating patient problems and by formulating and implementing patient management plans, including referrals to other healthcare providers and agencies.
  • Perform or assist in the performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and manage or assist in the management of medical and surgical conditions, particularly in life threatening situations.
  • Understand the principles of public health and incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into a patient care practice.
  • Use information technology in the provision of quality healthcare and clinical decision-making.
  • Evaluate the medical literature critically and apply this knowledge and the principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical practice.
  • Provide compassionate and competent healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Understand the medical and social issues that affect the geriatric patient and provide appropriate management of these problems.
  • Counsel patients, their families and their caregivers regarding issues of health, illness and medical care.
  • Understand the historical and contemporary role of the physician assistant in the healthcare system.
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
  • Understand the principles of patient oriented healthcare and to communicate clearly with patients.
  • Identify the special dynamics of providing healthcare to rural or underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by following the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession.
Program Description

The Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program (MSPA) has been planned to effectively utilize faculty expertise from the University's five colleges. Some faculty hold joint appointments with responsibility for teaching medical and physician assistant students as well as other health profession matriculants. Similarly, physician assistant candidates will receive clinical supervision as part of an integrated team of health providers. It is our expectation that these collaborative strategies toward teaching and learning will ultimately result in high quality, cost-effective health care delivery, particularly in medically under- served regions of New England.

Upon successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program, the University of New England awards the master of science degree. The program operates on a twenty-four month full-time calendar, beginning in late May of each year with a new incoming class.

What is a PA?

Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician Assistants are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program and/or certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the physician/PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services under the general supervision of the physician.

Other

The University of New England's Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program was designed according to the Essentials and Guidelines for an Accredited Educational Program for the Physician Assistant. The University of New England Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Curricular Requirements

Note: The curricular requirements below apply to the class entering JUNE 2018 (Class of 2020). 

Phase I of the program of study consists of 60.5 credit hours in pre-clinical didactic course work. The summer, fall and spring terms include instruction in the fields of biomedical sciences, clinical medicine, public health, pharmacology, clinical assessment, anatomy, physiology, evidence based medicine, ethics and professionalism, specialty disciplines, surgery, geriatrics and emergency medicine.

Twelve months of clinical rotations will take place upon successful completion of the didactic phase. The program ends with a final week on campus, which provides a forum for the presentation of students' research projects to peers and faculty; offers assistance in preparing the graduating students for certification; and gives physician assistant candidates an opportunity to integrate the didactic and clinical portions of their training in preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam.

Course/Program Area Credits
Summer I
June - August (10 weeks)
 
PAC 555 - Anatomy 5
PAC 503 - Clinical Assessment I 2.5
PAC 559 - Pharmacology I 3
PAC 548 - Principles of Biological Science 3
PAC 509 - Clinical Medicine I 1
PAC 582 - Professional and Ethical Issues for Physician Assistants 1
Semester total  15.5
   
Fall
September - December (15 weeks)
 
PAC 554 - Clinical Assessment II 3
PAC 560 - Pharmacology II 3.5
PAC 519 - Clinical Medicine II 8
PAC 564 - Interprofessional Geriatric Education Practicum I 2
PAC 565 - Integrating Seminar I 3
PAC 543 - Evidence Based Medicine I 1
Semester Total 20.5
   
Spring
January - May (20 weeks)
 
PAC 551 - Introduction to Public Health 1
PAC 556 - Evidence Based Medicine II 0.5
PAC 545 - Specialty Disciplines 7
PAC 585 - Integrating Seminar II 3
PAC 533 - Clinical Assessment III 3
PAC 561 - Pharmacology III 3.5
PAC 546 - Clinical Medicine III 6
PAC 547 - Interprofessional Geriatric Education Practicum II 1
Semester Total 25
   
Spring II - Summer II
June - June (12 months)
 
Clinical Rotations  
PAC 667 - Inpatient Selective (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 601 - Internal Medicine Outpatient (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 602 - Emergency Medicine (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 603 - Surgery (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 607 - Family Medicine I (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 608 - Family Medicine II (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 612 - Primary Care Selective 6
PAC 613 - Elective  6
PAC 614 - Preparation for Clinical Practice I 1
PAC 615 - Preparation for Clinical Practice II 1
PAC 616 - Preparation for Clinical Practice III 1
PAC 628 - Clinical Therapeutics I 0.5
PAC 629 - Clinical Therapeutics II 0.5
Semester Total 52

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all program requirements prior to the issuance of their Master of Science degree and the certificate of completion of the program. 

Academic and Technical Standards

WCHP Academic Policies

The Department of Physician Assistant, the Westbrook College of Health Professions, and the University of New England are committed to offering a quality Physician Assistant education program that complies with the evaluative criteria of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. The program provides learning experiences to enable graduates to achieve the outcomes required for the practice of Physician Assistant.  Please refer to the WCHP Graduate Program Progression Policies and Procedures for detailed description of academic standards.

Technical Standards

A student in the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social. All students admitted to the program must meet the following abilities and expectations upon matriculation and maintain these standards while enrolled in the PA Program. In the event a student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student will be subject to dismissal after admission.

Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis. However, a candidate must be able to perform these skills in an independent manner. Accordingly, the program requires each student to meet the following technical standards with or without accommodation:

Observation: Students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required. The ability to acquire sensory input using, vision, hearing, and tactile sensation must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation.

In any case where a student’s ability to observe or acquire information through these sensory modalities is compromised, the student must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information without reliance upon another person’s interpretation of the information. It is expected that obtaining and using such alternative means and/or abilities shall be the responsibility of the student. The University will reasonably assist the student where necessary.

Communication: The student must be able to effectively and efficiently communicate in the English language using verbal, written, and reading skills, in a manner that demonstrates sensitivity to fellow students, patients, their families, and all members of the health care team.

A student must be able to accurately elicit information, describe a patient’s change in mood, thought, activity, and posture. Students must demonstrate established communication skills using traditional means which may include the use of assistive devices. 

The student must be able to communicate complex findings in appropriate terms for patients/caregivers and other members of the health care team.

A student must be able to communicate clearly and audibly during interactions with classmates, professors, patients, and members of the health care team. 

A student must be able to receive, write legibly, and interpret written and verbal communication in both clinical and academic settings.

The student must be able to interpret and record legibly observations in a manner that is efficient and accurate using handwritten and electronic and dictating formats.

Motor:  The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g. palpation, percussion, auscultation) is required. Students must have sufficient motor function to safely execute movements required to provide care to patients. Students must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study in required. Long period of sitting, standing, or moving are required in the classroom, laboratory, and during clinical experiences.

The student must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency diagnosis and medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and suturing of wounds. At all times the ability to administer care to patients in a safe manner is paramount.

Intellectual: Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize information effectively in a precisely limited time as would be appropriate for the individual’s level of training in a given clinical setting, while under stress, and in an environment in which other distractions may be present. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded on Physician Assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Students must be able to read and understand medical literature. The student must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem solving and patient care.

The student must be able to, with or without use of assistive devices, but without reliance on another person, interpret x-ray, and other graphic images and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomenon (such as EKGs).

Behavioral and Social Attributes: Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team are essential. Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice are required.

Students must function professionally and effectively in any academic or clinical setting. Students must always demonstrate the psychological and emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and clinical responsibilities.

The student must demonstrate mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with University faculty and staff, peers and classmates, patients and other members of the health care team. Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice are all required.

For more information on disabilities and accommodation, please contact the UNE Student Access Center at (207) 602-2815.

Grading

Upon completion of a course of study, the faculty member in charge of that course submits the number of hours taught and a grade for each student to the academic coordinator. The MSPA program uses a standard letter grading system.

Academic Policy

Course Add/Drop or Withdrawal Policy

Due to the standard curriculum sequence within the MSPA Program, students are not allowed to add or drop courses. Students may not withdraw from an individual  MSPA course; to do so indicates a complete withdrawal from the MSPA Program.

Repeat Course Policy

Courses in the MSPA Program are offered once per year. All courses within the program must be completed with a minimum final grade of at least 74%.  Students must successfully complete each course within a given semester to progress to the next semester. The Program Student Development Committee in association with the Program Director determines whether or not a course or part of it must be repeated. It may be necessary for the student to await the next time the course is offered in the MSPA Program schedule which may make it necessary for the student to apply for a leave of absence and if granted, return to the program when the course in next offered. 

Upon completion of a repeated course, a new listing and assigned grade are placed on the student's transcript. The original course listing and grade remain on the student's transcript. All courses are listed chronologically on the transcript by semester or academic period in which they are enrolled.

Please refer to the  Westbrook College of Health Professions Graduate Progression Policy and Procedures for further information regarding graduate program progression. 

Learning Outcomes

The mission of the Program is accomplished by having graduates who meet the goals of the educational process.  Graduates of the Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Understand the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology and Pathophysiology and be able to utilize this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Understand the principles of pharmacotherapeutics and to apply them in the treatment of patients.
  • Elicit a detailed, accurate history and perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Understand how to order and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests in a cost efficient manner.
  • Present patient data and document it appropriately in the medical record.
  • Provide quality acute and ongoing patient care by appropriately delineating patient problems and by formulating and implementing patient management plans, including referrals to other healthcare providers and agencies.
  • Perform or assist in the performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and manage or assist in the management of medical and surgical conditions, particularly in life threatening situations.
  • Understand the principles of public health and incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into a patient care practice.
  • Use information technology in the provision of quality healthcare and clinical decision-making.
  • Evaluate the medical literature critically and apply this knowledge and the principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical practice.
  • Provide compassionate and competent healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Understand the medical and social issues that affect the geriatric patient and provide appropriate management of these problems.
  • Counsel patients, their families and their caregivers regarding issues of health, illness and medical care.
  • Understand the historical and contemporary role of the physician assistant in the healthcare system.
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
  • Understand the principles of patient oriented healthcare and to communicate clearly with patients.
  • Identify the special dynamics of providing healthcare to rural or underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by following the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession.
Transfer Credit

TRANSFER CREDIT

  • Transfer credit is not accepted or awarded.
Admissions

PROGRAM ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

COURSEWORK REQUIREMENTS

  • Science (all with labs, 8 semester credits or 12 quarter credits)
    • Biology
    • General Chemistry
    • Human Anatomy & Physiology
      • Completed within seven (7) years of matriculation
      • Must include all body systems and be a full-year, two-semester, sequence or the equivalent
      • Combination of courses must consist of both 4 credits of anatomy with lab and 4 credits of physiology with lab OR 8 credits of A&P I & II (both with lab)
      • Animal Physiology will not satisfy the physiology prerequisite
  • Other
    • Psychology/Sociology or related behavioral science (6 semester, 9 quarter credits)
    • English (6 semester, 9 quarter credits)
    • Statistics (3 semester, 4.5 quarter credits)
    • Courses in Advanced Physiology, Pathophysiology, Microbiology, Physics, and Biochemistry are highly recommended
  • All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or better (“C minus“ grades, not acceptable) 
    • Must be completed at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university
    • Online courses will also be accepted as meeting prerequisites so long as the courses are taken at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university and include a lab component when required (UNE’s Online Science Prerequisites are accepted as well)
  • Maximum of three (3) AP credits may be applied toward the English prerequisite only
  • Prerequisites may be in-progress or planned at the time of application, but must be completed by December 31 of the application year; include any in-progress or planned coursework in your CASPA application
    • Transcripts for coursework and/or degrees completed in the Fall term prior to the PA program start to be submitted to CASPA for verification during the Fall Academic Update period
    • Transcripts for coursework and/or degrees completed in the Spring term to be submitted directly to UNE's Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions as soon as available

ACADEMIC/EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

  • Minimum 90 undergraduate semester credits (135 quarter credits) from a U.S. regionally accredited institution(s) at time of application, and a Bachelor's Degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution, or international equivalent, prior to matriculation 
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, as calculated by CASPA which includes  all coursework taken with no forgiveness for retakes (average for matriculated students has been 3.5 for the past few years)
  • Minimum BCP GPA of 3.0, as calculated by CASPA (average for matriculated students has been 3.5 for the past few years)
    • BCP is GPA calculated by CASPA for all biology, chemistry, and physics courses completed
    • Additional credit hours beyond the minimum pre-requisites, especially upper level coursework, in the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics areas, will enhance your application and make you a stronger candidate
  • UNE no longer requires GRE score report
  • Minimum 500 hours of direct patient care required 
    • Hours must be completed through paid employment or volunteer programs; hours will NOT be accepted if they are completed for academic credits, e.g., internship hours to complete bachelor’s degree
    • Average patient care experience hours for matriculated students has typically been in the range of 2500 – 3500 hours over the past few years
  • PA shadowing, minimum 20 hours required at time of application submission
    • “Shadowing” of PAs in more than one practice facility and practice area is very important for a clear understanding of the role of the PA on the medical team; shadowing hours must be with a Physician Assistant only
    • Applicants will be required to show evidence of PA shadowing hours in a primary care, inpatient or outpatient setting and must record in the “Health Care Shadowing Experience” section of CASPA; “Shadowing” hours do not count toward direct patient care hours
  • Proficiency with computer technology strongly recommended
  • Three (3) letters of reference from writers who can speak to your academic abilities and/or professional experience (letters from friends or family members, not acceptable)
  • Only those applicants who meet minimum requirements will be considered for admission
    • Just meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview or acceptance
    • Average GPAs for students accepted into the program are well above published minimums
  • Before or upon matriculation, accepted/deposited students will be expected to
    • Meet all health immunization requirements (Student Health Care)
    • Obtain a physical examination with proof of up-to-date immunization status
  • Accepted/deposited students will be subject to passing criminal background checks and drug screens prior to matriculation and periodically throughout the program
  • Must have a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) course for the provider and must maintain current BLS throughout the program

PROCEDURES AND POLICIES

  • Applications for admissions accepted through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) only
    • CASPA application portal opens annually in late April.
    • Applications must be electronically submitted to CASPA by the posted deadline
    • Given the normally heavy volume of applications, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit and complete applications as early as possible in the cycle
  • On-campus interviews are required for admission and are by invitation only 
    • Admissions is rolling with offers of acceptance are made after each interview session and continuing until the program starts
    • If accepted two (2) deposits will be required to secure your seat in the class
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees
    • Must have their transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited US institution (see International Admissions for details)
    • Must be able to understand and communicate (in writing and with speech) in English to be admitted to the university
      • UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency (see English Language Proficiency for details)
      • If an applicant cannot prove English Proficiency in another way, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required and official score report must be submitted as a part of the completed application·POLICY EXCEPTIONS

POLICY EXCEPTIONS

  • Policies have been established to ensure fair and consistent admissions practice for all applicants
  • Exceptions to existing admission policies are rare and made on a case by case basis, only when it is deemed necessary and appropriate to maintain fair and consistent practice for all candidates
  • All academic (coursework and degree) and experience requirements presented in this summary are subject to change per accreditation mandates or clinical affiliation requirements

TRANSFER CREDIT

  • Transfer credits are rarely awarded to students who transfer from another physician assistant program
  • Transfer credits reviewed and awarded on a case by case basis

ADVANCED STANDING

  • No advanced standing available

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

  • No credit awarded for experiential learning
Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Lab Fees

A fee is charged to cover the expenses for specific science courses (e.g., anatomy), certain specific course or program component (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), evaluative testing, including the use of high-fidelity simulators, etc.) and an equipment fee for personal medical equipment.

Clinical Fee

The Clinical Fee is dispersed to clinical sites during the student's clinical year. It is an honorarium paid to the clinical site in appreciation for clinical training. While dispersed to clinical sites during the clinical year, to better equalize charges and award financial aid, a portion of the fee is billed to students during both the didactic and clinical year.

Tuition and fees are refunded per UNE policy. The refund policy can be found in the University Catalog section on Financial Information for Graduate Programs.

Equipment

Students are required to have certain personal medical equipment. This equipment is group purchased (at a significant discount) for each entering Class and the equipment is delivered to students during the first week of the program.  Please do not purchase personal medical equipment from sources other than the Program's group purchase.

Books

Students in the didactic phase can plan on spending approximately $1,500 to $2,000 on required textbooks. Course syllabi and the program book list may also include recommended books which students are not required to purchase, but may wish to have as important reference materials.  Most of the texts used in the Program are available digitally via the UNE Library's Portal and can be accessed without additional expense.

Other Expenses

Students are responsible for expenses involved with travel, parking, living expenses and meals.

Student Employment

The program discourages students from having outside employment while attending the PA Program. If a student feels that it is necessary to work while in the program, it is advisable that the student inform his/her academic advisor.

Financial Aid

Detailed information and applications are available on request from the Financial Aid Office on the Biddeford Campus. Call 207-602-2342 or visit the Financial Aid website.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2019-2020 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication April 26, 2019.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.

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