The NSU Jacksonville Physician Assistant (PA) Program is a fully integrated program encompassing graduate level work which leads to a Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree. The rigorous 27-month curriculum (144 semester credit hours) is integrated at the didactic and clinical levels and prepares graduates to be compassionate and competent healthcare providers to practice high quality patient-centered care. All students must complete the entire NSU PA curriculum, regardless of their previous academic education.
The first year (4 semesters over 15 months) consists of intense, didactic classroom and laboratory education. The didactic year is designed to give the student the basic practical information required to begin the practice of medicine under the supervision of a physician.
The course of study in the didactic year includes: Cultural Issues in Health Care, Anatomy, Pharmacodynamics, Introduction to the PA Profession, Fundamentals of Medical Imaging, Medical Terminology, Physiology, Physical Diagnosis, Electrocardiography, Clinical Pathophysiology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Interpretation of Medical Literature, Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care, Clinical Pharmacology, Complementary Medicine & Nutrition, Clinical Behavioral Medicine, Life Support Skills and Procedures, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, PA & Health Care Dynamics, Clinical Procedures and Surgical Skills, Clinical Genetics, Male and Female surrogate pelvic, breast, genital and rectal exam experiences, Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS), HIPAA, and OSHA "Blood borne Pathogen" training.
The second year consists of clinical rotations in hospitals, private practices, and other patient care areas over the remaining 12 months of the program. These rotations are between 4 and 6 weeks in length. The course of study for the clinical year includes six-week rotations in the following areas: Behavioral Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Prenatal Care & Gynecology. Students are also required to complete two elective rotations, one six weeks in duration and the other 4 weeks in duration.
During the clinical year, students are required to return to campus after each rotation. These "End of Rotation" (EOR) activities include testing, seminars on medical errors, HIV, domestic violence, sex trafficking, PANCE, job and licensing preparation, Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS), and didactic instruction in contemporary clinical medicine and surgery topics.
Also, during the clinical year, students are required to complete a graduate project. This project is a scholarly paper suitable for publication and will consist of a literature review on a topic approved by the student’s faculty advisor.
The progress of each student through the curriculum requires continuous satisfactory academic and clinical performance. Since many of the curriculum’s courses are offered only once per year, a student may have an altered plan of study if not making satisfactorily progress each semester. This may extend the student’s program beyond the standard 7 consecutive semesters. There is a maximum four-year time limit for program completion, which includes any approved leave of absence / administrative break and subsequent return to the program.