The NSU Orlando physician assistant program is a fully integrated program encompassing master's level work which leads to a Master's of Medical Science (MMS) degree. The MMS curriculum is integrated at the didactic and clinical levels. All students must complete the required courses of the entire NSU curriculum, regardless of their previous academic education.
The first year (4 semesters over 15 months) consists of intense, didactic classroom and laboratory education. This educational process is designed to give the student the basic practical information required to begin the practice of medicine under the supervision of a physician. The didactic courses of study are required PRIOR to beginning the clinical educational experiences.
(Note: Many applicants may have completed similar courses in other institutions. No course exemptions for previous course work completed prior to admission will be considered except by expressed permission of the Program Director and the College of Health Care Sciences Dean . The Orlando PA program curriculum is subject to change and /or modification at any time).
The course of study in the didactic phase includes Gross Anatomy, Physiology, Physical Diagnosis, Clinical Pathophysiology, History Taking & Communication Skills, Genetics, Pharmacodynamics, Introduction to the PA Profession, Cultural Issues in Healthcare, PA & Health Care Dynamics, Microbiology, Fundamentals of Medical Imaging, Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care, Epidemiology & Biostatistics in Health Care, Pharmacology, Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Social and Behavioral Sciences & Psychiatry, Electrocardiography, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Complementary Medicine & Nutrition, Life Support Skills and Procedures, Clinical Procedures and Surgical Skills, Publication Skills & Medical Research, Domestic Violence training, OSHA "Blood borne Pathogen" training, Clinical Year Preparation, Research Methods, and training in the use of PDAs.
The second year consists of clinical rotations in hospitals, private practices, and other patient care areas over the remaining 12 months of the program. The following areas of study are required in this clinical educational phase: Prenatal Care & Gynecology, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, Pediatrics, and Family Medicine. Dermatology, Orthopedics, Otorhinolaryngology and Geriatrics, cardiology, neurology, endocrinology, pulmonology, and gastroenterology are available as Selectives, one of which is required. One four week elective is scheduled during the clinical year. During the second year, students are required to return to campus after each 6 week rotation. These "End of Rotation" events include testing, review seminars, job preparation and didactic instruction in contemporary clinical medicine and surgery topics.
Also during the second year, students are required to complete a graduate project. This project is a scholarly paper suitable for publication and a poster board or powerpoint presentation summarizing the paper. The graduate project will consist of either the findings of original research or a literature review and evaluation, which may be presented to the program and/or college during the clinical year.
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.