Physician Assistant Studies Program: Course Descriptions

PHA-505 Pharmacology I
This 2-quarter course covers basic pharmacological principles and disease process therapeutics. Topics include principles of pharmacology, principles of drug action, drug dosage calculation, the autonomic nervous system, drugs acting on synaptic and neuroeffector junctional sites, drugs acting on the central nervous system, antinflammatory drugs agents, agents affecting the composition of body fluids, cardiovascular drugs, drugs affection GI function, antibiotic and antiviral drugs, chemotherapy of neoplastic disease, immunosuppression, hormones and hormone antagonists, drugs affecting the blood, and vitamins. Pharmacotherapy of cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, neurologic, psychiatric, endocrinologic, gynecologic and obstetric, immunologic, bone and joint, dermatologic, hematologic, oncologic, infectious, and nutritional disorders will be discussed. [3]
PHA-506 Pharmacology II
PHA-507 Pharmacology III

PAS-510 Human Anatomy & Physiology I
This 2-part course provides a thorough foundation of functional and applied human anatomy and physiology as a basis for understanding the mechanisms of disease. Lectures, anatomic models, and cadaver prosections will be utilized in teaching this course. This course will cover the central nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory system, and lymphatic systems. Anatomy & Physiology II will cover the gastrointestinal, pelvic, and musculoskeletal systems, human genetics and genetic testing, as well as the hematologic and immunologic systems. [3]

PAS-511 Clinical Medicine I
This four-series course covers the essential principles of disease diagnosis and management for the major problems seen by PAs in clinical practice. Using an organ systems approach, lectures and case analysis will discuss the etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of disease. Lectures on patient assessment and management considerations will include the generation of a differential diagnosis, the role of pharmacotherapeutic and adjuvant therapies, and appropriate patient referral issues. An introduction to molecular medicine and the genetic and molecular mechanisms of health and disease will be discussed as a part of each clinical topic. Instruction in important aspects of patient care will include considerations of prevention and long-term and rehabilitative care issues. Case studies and patient simulations will be used to teach problem solving and clinical decision-making using an evidence-based practice approach. Clinical topics will include: neurologic disease; cardiovascular disease; pulmonary and critical care medicine; gastrointestinal disease; diseases of the hepatobiliary system; renal disease; genito-urinary disorders; hematological disease; oncologic disease; immunological disorders; metabolic disease; endocrine disease; diseases of bone and bone mineral metabolism; musculoskeletal and connective tissue disease; dermatologic; infectious disease; and human sexuality and sexually transmitted disease. Disorders related to specific populations such as the aging patient and women’s health will be discussed and a systematic presentation of behavioral medicine and psychiatry to include the normal psychological development of pediatric, adult and geriatric patients will be provided. Health promotion and disease prevention, diet, fitness and nutrition, detection and treatment of substance abuse will also be discussed. [6]

PAS-512 History & Physical Examination I
This 2-part course will prepare students to conduct effective medical interviews, use appropriate formatting to document and orally present clinical information, perform comprehensive physical examinations, and interpret examination findings. Students will learn and practice interviewing techniques and interpersonal communication skills that result in effective exchange of information with patients, their families, and other health care providers. Instruction on the components of the health history (chief complaint, present illness, past history, family history, personal and social history, review of symptoms) is provided. [2]

PAS-513 Seminar I
Each semester, this course will explore key subjects important to PA function in clinical practice. Seminar I will explore the history and development of the PA profession, the physician-PA relationship, scope of practice and professional regulations, licensure, certification/recertification , PA program accreditation, and PA professional organizations. The course will also cover legal issues in health care related to PA practice, including the Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), professional liability, laws and regulations regarding prescriptive practices, reimbursement, coding and billing, quality assurance, and risk management. [1]

PAS-520 Human Anatomy & Physiology II

PAS-521 Clinical Medicine II

PAS-522 History & Physical Examination II
This course covers the performance and interpretation of the physical examination including the general survey of the patient, vital signs, skin, head and neck exam, thorax and lungs, cardiovascular and peripheral vascular systems, breasts and axillae, abdomen, genitalia and rectal exams, musculoskeletal system, and the mental status and nervous system exams. Special considerations for assessing infants and children and the obstetrical patient will also be covered. Detection and treatment of substance abuse will be introduced. [3]

PAS-523 Seminar II
This course will explore issues concerning medical ethics and ethical principles, including the attributes of respect for self and others, professional responsibilities and professionalism, the concepts of privilege, confidentiality and informed patient consent, and commitment to patient welfare. End of life issues, principles of violence identification and prevention, and socioeconomic issues affecting health care will be discussed. [1]

PAS-530 Microbiology and Infectious Disease
This course will provide a review of the general biology of infectious agents and the basic concepts and principles of immunology, including medically important microorganisms and their relationship to disease. Identification of selected groups of pathogens, epidemiology, mechanisms causing disease and the biological basis for resistance will be covered. Identification, classification, cellular structure, pathogenic mechanisms, genetics, epidemiology, serology, and prevention and treatment of disease will be described. [2]

PAS-531 Clinical Medicine III

PAS-533 Seminar III
Critical thinking and evidence-based practice will be introduced and techniques for identifying the best evidence for clinical decision-making will be explored. Using case study analysis, clinical reasoning and decision making in medical practice, patient assessment, management, care plan development, and health promotion and counseling as part of patient management will be discussed. Techniques for correct oral presentation of patient data to a supervising physician will also be covered. [1]

PAS-534 Diagnostic Methods I
A 2-part course discussing the essentials of ordering, interpreting, and performing clinical studies used in the screening, diagnosis, management, and monitoring of human disease. Topics include clinical laboratory studies (hematology, chemistry, microbiology, urinalysis, molecular diagnostic techniques, histology, cytology, skin testing, sputum, and pleural fluid examination), blood gases, pulmonary function and stress testing, basic radiography and advanced imaging (CT, MRI, PET/CT) techniques, sonography, the electrocardiogram, endoscopy techniques, nutritional assessment, and sleep laboratory. Advanced patient care monitoring techniques will be introduced to include EKG interpretation, oximetry, and hemodynamic monitoring, telemetry and the use of telemedicine techniques. Using diagnostic testing in disease assessment and management including generation of the differential diagnosis is included. [3]

PAS-535 Pediatrics
Care of infants and children as seen in the primary care, acute care and emergency care setting will be discussed. A chronological approach is used to address preventive health care services, and the assessment and management of acute and chronic health problems found in infants, children and adolescents. Instruction is provided in the stages of normal psycho-social, physical, and sexual development in children and adolescents. [2]

PAS-541 Clinical Medicine IV

PAS-542 Fundamentals of Surgery
An introduction to surgical concepts needed for the physician assistant to provide care and assist the surgeon in major surgical areas, such as a day surgery unit or a hospital operating room. Lectures will discuss indications for surgery, and surgical concepts and techniques such as asepsis, anesthesia (general, local, and conscious sedation), and wound management. Specific surgical techniques used for day surgery, elective surgery, emergency surgery, abdominal and thoracic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgery, microsurgery, robotic surgery, and organ transplant surgery will be described. Pre- and post operative patient assessment and management will be discussed. [2]

PAS-543 Seminar IV
This course will explore the psychosocial aspects of patient care. Instruction will be provided in basic counseling and patient education skills necessary to help patients and families cope with illness and injury, adhere to prescribed treatment plans and modify their behaviors to more healthful patterns. Discussions will also include issues of culture and sexuality and the impact these forces have on attitudes towards health, patient counseling, and health policy. [1]

PAS-544 Diagnostic Methods II

PAS-545 Emergency Medicine
An introduction to the diagnosis and treatment of disease states and conditions encountered in an emergency setting to include the response to illness, injury and stress. Basic and advanced life support, airway management, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation; management of chest pain, acute cardiac events, congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema; shock, trauma and environmental injuries; endocrine emergencies; hematologic and oncologic emergencies; poisoning, abdominal disorders, gastrointestinal bleeding; asthma, COPD, pneumonia and acute respiratory failure; neurologic disease, altered mental status and behavioral emergencies; detection and treatment of substance abuse and drug overdose; eye, ear, nose and throat emergencies; anaphylaxis; infectious disease in the ED; common emergencies in infants and children and disaster preparedness and response are some of the topics that will be covered. [2]

PAS-580 Clinical Skills Laboratory
This intensive laboratory experience precedes the first clinical rotation. Instruction and practice includes the following: aseptic technique; surgical gowning and gloving; casting; suturing; skin lesion removal; cryotherapy; phlebotomy techniques; IV therapy; injections (subcutaneous, IM, and joint); and intubation, airway management, and suctioning is provided in the student skills laboratory. Students will also receive certification in basic and advanced cardiac life support (BLS and ACLS). [2]

PAS-581 Family Medicine
During this experience in family medicine, students see patients, perform assessments and formulate care plans under the supervision of a physician, PA or advanced practice nurse. Comprehensive, longitudinal care is stressed. Common problems are reviewed and the responsibilities of a primary care physician assistant are observed and taught. Principles of health, wellness, prevention, recognition and treatment of substance abuse, and chronic disease management and chronic care are introduced in the clinical setting. Patient assessment and management are reviewed to include the generation of a differential diagnosis, and oral presentation of patient data to the supervising physician and appropriate referral of patients. [6]

PAS-582 Internal Medicine
This clinical practice is designed to introduce students to the practice of internal medicine. Through participating directly in patient care, students have the opportunity to evaluate and manage a variety of patients and their problems. Students further develop their skills in history taking and physical examination and review pathophysiologic principles as a guide to caring for patients. Students will develop an understanding of relationships between disease states and the patient from the medical, social and emotional points of view. The team approach allows students the opportunity to actively work toward the goals of quality patient care while reinforcing medical principles. Patient assessment and management are reviewed to include the generation of a differential diagnosis, oral presentation of patient data to the supervising physician and appropriate referral of patients. [6]

PAS-583 General Surgery
The principles of preoperative and postoperative care, diagnosis of surgical disease, indications for surgery, recognition and response to surgical emergencies, and the physiological principles of surgery are presented. Technical experience is provided in the operating rooms. Lectures and conferences provide additional direct contact with medical school faculty. [6]

PAS-584 Emergency & Critical Care Medicine
Students will see patients in all areas of the emergency department under supervision of attending physicians, PAs or advanced practice nurses. Students will perform histories and physical examinations, record their findings and discuss patients with attending physicians. Students will formulate diagnostic plans, bearing in mind the inherent time and cost factors. Patient assessment and management are reviewed to include the generation of a differential diagnosis, oral presentation of patient data to the supervising physician and appropriate referral of patients.
For the critical care rotation, students will gain experience in the care and management of critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Critical care monitoring, hemodynamic stabilization, mechanical ventilatory support, and management of complex cases will be introduced. Students will analyze patient data, including arterial blood gases, in order to formulate care plans. Patient care is carried out under the direct supervision of the clinical staff. [6]

PAS-585 Pediatrics
Principles and practice of care of the patient from birth through adolescence are studied by providing direct patient care. Students will learn basic pediatric assessment, diagnosis and treatment. Clinical facilities of both inpatient and outpatient services of Rush University Medical Center and private physicians' offices are utilized. Seminars, conferences, lectures, and case presentations provide additional learning experiences. Student assignments include rotations in inpatient and ambulatory settings, and the nursery. Pediatric patient assessment and management are reviewed to include the generation of a differential diagnosis, oral presentation of patient data to the supervising physician and appropriate referral of patients. [6]

PAS-586 Women’s Health/Obstetrics and Gynecology
The student will learn routine obstetrics, gynecologic health maintenance and patient education. Identification and management of high-risk pregnancy, infertility, gynecologic oncology, family planning, psychosomatic disorders and normal psychological changes in obstetrics and gynecology as well as gynecologic surgery will be introduced. [6]

PAS-587 Psychiatry
Provides exposure to major psychiatric disorders focusing on diagnosis and management. Emphasis on aspects of psychiatry relevant to primary practitioner with a holistic approach to patient care, recognizing significant biological, psychological, and social/environmental factors contributing to the patient's illness. [4]

PAS-588 Long Term Care
Supervised clinical practice experience is provided in long term care, with a focus on rehabilitative medicine and the care of patients with chronic disease. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation of patients with physical, psychological and social disabilities is introduced. [4]

PAS-589 Elective Rotation
Elective rotations may include: general surgery, orthopedics, sports medicine cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery, neurologic surgery, surgical oncology, otolaryngology, cardiology, and pulmonary/critical care medicine. Students may request other elective rotations, but these must be approved by the program director. These six-week rotations will provide a more in-depth study of clinical specialization areas that the may wish to pursue during Phase III of the program. [6]

PAS-590 Master's Research Project