Physician Assistant Studies

About the Program

Graduates from the Francis Marion University Physician Assistant Program will receive a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. After successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).

Physician Assistants (PAs) are skilled members of the healthcare team, qualified by academic and clinical experience to provide a broad range of services.

PAs, working under the guidance of supervising physicians, provide services including: performing patient interviews and physical examinations; interpreting laboratory and diagnostic studies; evaluating and managing acute and chronic disease; implementing treatment plans; counseling patients about health maintenance and disease management; monitoring responses to programs of therapy; and facilitating access to healthcare resources. Francis Marion University Department of Physician Assistant Studies seeks to educate our students to become skilled in all of these areas.

The PA department is housed in the Carter Center for Health Sciences, which contains state of the art equipment that gives you a great opportunity for learning. It is equipped with the latest teaching technology in medical education including a simulation center, on OSCE suite, physical exam and anatomy labs, large classrooms, and space for students to study and gather.

Mission Statement

The Francis Marion University Physician Assistant Program seeks to educate excellent primary care physician assistants to become compassionate, ethical, and clinically skillful graduates who are ready to provide health care services with personal and professional integrity.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Medical Knowledge
    • Understanding of the established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application to patient care (B1.02).
    • Knowledge base of anatomy, physiology, genetics and molecular mechanisms of health and disease and their application in clinical practice (B2.02a, b, e).
    • Understanding of pathophysiology in all organ systems and disease processes and the application in clinical practice (B2.02c, B2.03).
    • Knowledge of pharmacology principles and an understanding of the pharmacotherapeutics to provide appropriate pharmacologic therapy and implementation of an appropriate patient treatment plan (B2.02d, B2.05, B2.09).
    • Knowledge of professional issues related to practice as a physician assistant (B2.17).
  2. Patient Care
    • Demonstrate the clinical and technical skills of eliciting a medical history and performing a physical examination that is relevant and accurate of patient information across the lifespan and the ability to appropriately differentiate preventive, acute, emergent, and chronic patient presentations as well as manage prenatal, gynecological, and behavioral encounters (B2.05, B3.02, B3.03a, B3.03b, B3.03d).
    • Knowledge of routine clinical and technical skills and more specialized diagnostic studies/procedures and the ability to accurately interpret the diagnostic studies/procedures for patient care (B2.05).
    • Competency in medical and surgical technical skills/procedures that are required by the program to include pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative care of patients. (see Appendix A) (B2.07, B3.03c).
    • Develop a diagnostic and therapeutic management plan based on patient information and clinical reasoning and problem solving skills for common medical and behavioral conditions across the life span, taking into consideration cost, sensitivity/specificity, invasiveness, appropriate sequencing, and level of acuity (preventive, acute, emergent, chronic) (B1.07, B2.06, B2.10, B3.02, B3.03a, B3.03d).
    • Apply clinical reasoning and problem solving skills of patient data by utilizing medical knowledge to develop a differential diagnosis and patient management that applies the principals of epidemiology and evidence-based medicine (B2.05, B2.10).
  3. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    • Utilizing medical knowledge and interpersonal skills to provide accurate patient education inclusive of health promotion and disease prevention in oral and written forms taking into consideration literacy, diversity, inclusiveness of family/caregivers and utilization of other healthcare professionals and community resources/services (B1.06, B1.08, B2.04, B2.09, B2.12).
    • Demonstrate interpersonal skills that provide clear and effective communication in oral and written forms with patients, family/caregivers and members of the healthcare interprofessional team to provide competent comprehensive patient-centered care across the lifespan (B1.08, B2.17).
    • Demonstrate patient education skills that are culturally sensitive for patients from diverse populations and help patients cope with their illness, injury and stress to promote positive health behaviors (B2.05, B2.08, B2.09, B2.12).
    • Demonstrate the interpersonal skills necessary to effectively collaborate interprofessionally with all members of the healthcare team (B1.08).
  4. Professionalism
    • Demonstrate professional behavior with high ethical standards sensitive to the patient, family/caregiver and members of the health care team (B2.16, B2.17).
    • Demonstrate respect for self and others, tolerance, empathy, and confidentiality (B1.05).
    • Understand and abide by all practice laws and regulations as a physician assistant and be committed to ethical principles and knowledge of current health care and legal issues to ensure that best care practices are provided (B2.14).
    • Demonstrate reliability, positive work ethic, and commitment to on-going professional development (B1.05).
  5. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
    • Be knowledgeable of the public health system and the role of providers in disease prevention and public health (B2.12).
    • Demonstrate ethical principles and implement best practice principles in patient safety, quality improvement, risk management, and prevention of medical errors (B2.13, B2.16).
    • Maintain practice-based and problem-solving skills with continued critical analysis of medical literature to evaluate manage and improve patient-centered care (B2.10).
    • Understand the impact of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities on health care delivery (B1.06).
  6. System-Based Practice
    • Demonstrate responsiveness and clinical reasoning to systems-based practice by practicing cost effective care and resource allocation that does not compromise the quality of care (B2.13, B2.12).
    • Understand reimbursement as it relates to coding, billing, and documentation of care (B2.15).
    • Understand the use of technology resources to support patient care and patient education (B2.10).
    • Understand the health care delivery systems and health care policy and concepts of public health (B2.11, B2.12).