WEST LIBERTY UNIVERSITY MISSION STATEMENT
To provide our students the opportunity for a high quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional education.
WLU PA STUDIES PROGRAM
The West Liberty Department of Physician Assistant Studies is committed to providing high-quality education to physician assistant candidates, who as an integral part of the health-care team, will provide empathetic and competent care to the patients they serve, including those in underserved areas.
Graduates of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies will:
- Be clinically competent primary care physician assistants who practice evidence-based medicine.
- Reflect the highest standards of compassionate, legal, ethical, and moral conduct.
- Be team-oriented, culturally sensitive providers who are dedicated to their communities.
- Encourage improvement in the quality, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of patient care in their community and state.
- Be critical-thinking and effective communicators with both patients and health care professionals.
- Identify the lack of medical care in rural and underserved regions and consider practicing their discipline or providing service in such locations.
- Have an appreciation of the greater field of knowledge beyond their discipline and recognize the importance of lifelong learning in maintaining a level of excellence in their practice.
WLU PA Program Goals
The program has just recently graduated it’s 1st class. Employment data, graduate surveys, leadership positions by alumni, and employer feed back are not available at this time.
- Clinically competent primary care physician assistants who practice evidence based medicine:
Graduates from the Class of 2014 evaluated a total of 30,506 patients during the 24-month clinical year. All 2014 graduates who have taken the national physician assistant certification examination have passed on their first attempt. All of our graduates have completed two terms of research instruction that focus significantly on practicing evidence-based medicine. On a scale of 1-4 with 4, being “Almost always”, our preceptor mean for all rotations was 3.35 for encouraging evidence-based education. Preceptor evaluation of Students: Item #13 (Relating to patients) – mean 4.85; Item #17 (Professionalism/Medical Ethics) – mean 4.88. Graduate survey results revealed on a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being “outstanding”, WLU students rated their preparation for practicing evidence based medicine a mean of 4.53.
- Reflect the highest standards of compassionate, legal, ethical and moral conduct:
All 2014 graduates who have applied for a medical license have been granted an unrestricted license to practice as a medical physician assistant. All students complete a one-term course entitled, “Clinical Ethics”.
- Be team-oriented, culturally sensitive providers who are dedicated to their communities:
All students are exposed to a myriad of guest lecturers from different professions in the didactic phase to facilitate their understanding of the practice of medicine as a team effort. All students have completed several courses such as Professional Issues within the curriculum that explicitly discuss cultural similarities and differences. All students take a Rural Medicine course that discussed the cultural uniqueness of rural areas. Our physician assistant student society has been involved in many on and off campus community oriented activities. All students are taught the team concept and the “role of the PA” in the classroom, and learn to practice it in the clinical year. On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being “Outstanding”, – Graduate survey results of item #14 (Understanding the role of the PA) – mean 4.82. Graduate survey data also demonstrates WLU preparation for inter-professional relationships mean 4.71, as well as Behaviors expected of a PA mean of 4.82.
- Encourage improvement in quality, accessibility and cost effectiveness of patient care within community:
In the didactic phase, all students received information related to the Affordable Care Act and are familiar with third party payers and the financing of our Nation’s healthcare. All of our students have received instructions pertaining to coding and billing and how medicine relates to cost.
- Be critical thinking and effective communicators with both patients and health care professionals:
Students are encouraged to think critically as through a myriad of pedagogical methods, they are assessed at higher levels of thinking. Effective communication with patients and healthcare providers id evaluated throughout the 24-month program. Graduate survey item #7 concerning Problem solving/Critical thinking revealed a mean 4.56.
- Identify the lack of medical care in rural and underserved regions and consider practicing their discipline or providing service in such locations:
All of our graduates have passed a course entitled, PA 539 – Rural Medicine which informs them of the potential health disparities among those living in rural areas. They are proficient in the economics of rural health practice and the quality and role of primary care in the rural setting. Students received a 1.5 hour presentation from the West Virginia Division of Rural Health and Recruitment and the Nation Health Service Corporation.
- Have an appreciation of the greater field of knowledge beyond their discipline and recognize the importance of lifelong learning in maintaining a level of excellence in their practice:
Graduates have all passed 2 courses, “Research I” and “Research II” which ensures they have the skills necessary to evaluate the medical literature and apply the information to their individual clinical practice. They will continue to use these skills throughout their career for lifelong, self-initiated learning. Physician assistants must remain current in medical education by logging 100 hours every 2 years, and by taking the Physician assistant re-certification examination every 10 years.
NOTE: The Program Director will reassess the goals and the associated data related to these goals on an annual basis.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree program is intended to prepare entry level medical professionals to assist the primary care physician with all medical and patient care responsibilities within the health care system, especially for rural and underserved populations. In order to accomplish this all-encompassing, student-based objective, the program will prepare the student to:
- Practice cognitive skills specific to the systematic diagnostic process.
- Practice problem-solving skills specific to the systematic diagnostic process.
- Practice patient care methodologies consistent with Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) guidelines.
- Understand all ethical considerations within the field.
- Critically analyze clinical literature and methodologies.
- Perform literature reviews critical to maintaining currency within the field.
- Engage in community interaction.
- Provide attainable health care in rural and underserved regions.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree program will also:
- Establish cooperative and productive relationships with other schools, departments, and programs within the University, clinical affiliates and preceptor sites.
- Implement continuous and periodic self-study which will provide ongoing monitoring, evaluation and improvement of program activities.
- Encourage and provide opportunities for continued professional growth and development for Physician Assistant faculty.