Physician Assistant Studies

Physician Assistant Studies

Chair and Program Director: Phelps

Associate Director: Sparrell

Medical Director: Anstett, D'Souza, McClusky

Associate Professors: Phelps

Assistant Professors: Forbes, Hall, Johnson, Martin, Mirly, Nelson, Papa, Sierra, Smith, Talford

Clinical Instructor: Allen

www.isu.edu/paprog

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Physician Assistants (PAs) are highly skilled health practitioners who work under physician supervision to provide patient care services. PAs take complete medical histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic studies, such as laboratory tests and x-rays, diagnose and treat patients. Physician Assistants improve the accessibility of health care of under-served individuals in both urban and rural settings. The Physician Assistant Program at Idaho State University is the only PA Program in the state of Idaho.

The Program

The Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Idaho State University awards the Master's of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree and a PA certificate upon successful completion of its 24 month graduate curriculum. A class of 72 students is enrolled each fall semester with 30 seats located at the Pocatello campus, 30 seats located at the Meridian campus, and 12 seats located at the College of Idaho campus in Caldwell.

The program maintains continued accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc., (ARC-PA). Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) which is administered by the National Commission for Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Vision & Mission

Idaho State University Department of Physician Assistant Studies is the preferred educational destination for individuals who desire to be trained in a student-centered, service-oriented environment.

The mission of the Idaho State Physician Assistant program is to train PAs through service-oriented, multimodal, innovative learning. Graduates from ISU’s PA Program will be highly competent, compassionate health care providers dedicated to serving individuals and their communities.

Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate Degree: A Baccalaureate degree needs to be completed by June 30th of the year you plan to enter the PA Studies program. It must be from a regionally accredited U.S. institute of higher learning.
  2. Prerequisite Courses: Required courses must also be completed at a regionally accredited U.S. institute of higher learning. The required prerequisite courses are:
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy (as a single course or as part of a two semester combined anatomy and physiology course)
  • Human Physiology (as a single course or as part of a two semester combined anatomy and physiology course)
  • Statistics
  • Abnormal Psychology (or Developmental Psychology throughout the Lifespan)

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 as well as a minimum grade of C in all prerequisite courses (listed above). Course work ten years or older is not accepted as prerequisite coursework. Applicants may have up to two prerequisite courses in progress during spring of the year they plan to enter the program. This course work and any degree work must be completed by June 30 of the year of admission.

Highly Recommended Upper Level Biology Courses
(Note: This is not meant to be all inclusive and includes suggestions only.)
Advanced Anatomy
BIOL 4420Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy2
BIOL 4470Cross-Sectional Anatomy2
Advanced Human Physiology
BIOL 3304Comparative Vertebrate Morphology and Physiology5
BIOL 4449Human Physiology I4
BIOL 4456Human Physiology II4
BIOL 4464Lectures in Human Physiology4
BIOL 4486Human Systemic Physiology5
Immunology
BIOL 4451Immunology3
BIOL 4454Advanced Immunology3
Genetics
BIOL 3358Genetics3
BIOL 4461Advanced Genetics3
Endocrinology
BIOL 4443Endocrinology3
 
  • Other health-related courses from departments such as Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Health Education, and Gender Studies.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language, especially Spanish

Additional considerations for admission include:

  • Maturity
  • Work and health care experience
  • Evidence of the ability to achieve academic success in a rigorous academic program
  • Interpersonal skills and the ability to relate effectively with patients, peers and at a professional level
  • Evidence of a desire to practice primary care in Idaho, particularly among the medically underserved

Required Applications

Central Application Services for Physician Assistants (https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/)

The CASPA application must be completed by the PA program application deadline of November 1. As part of the CASPA application process you will be required to submit three letters of recommendations and official transcripts.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (http://www.ets.org)

The GRE is an important admission requirement as the scores are used for ranking applicants. Please go to ETS website for information about testing locations and scheduling the exam.

The GRE must be taken by November 1. The ISU GRE School Code is 4355 and the Department Code is 0634.

ISU Graduate School Application (www.isu.edu/graduate)

The ISU Graduate School application (also called the "Supplemental Application") is required for admission to the PA program. When applying to the Graduate School, select the Fall semester. Please refer to the ISU Graduate School for information regarding the application, requirements, and fees.

CASPA DOES NOT forward transcripts to the Graduate School or the PA program. A separate set of official transcripts must be requested for ISU's Graduate School.

Official transcripts are to be sent directly to the Graduate School at the following address:

ISU Graduate School
921 S 8th Ave, Stop 8075
Pocatello, ID 83209-8075

The Graduate School application deadline is November 1.

Technical Standards

All entering students must meet the required list of Technical Standards. A complete list of technical standards covering essential capacities for observation, communication, sensory and motor function, intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, behavioral and social attributes, and other student performance requirements is available from the program or on the program’s website at http://www.isu.edu/paprog/technical-standards.shtml.

Curriculum

The ISU PA Program Graduate Curriculum is twenty-four (24) months in length, divided into twelve (12) months of didactic (3 semesters) and twelve (12) months of clinical education (3 semesters).

The Didactic Curriculum is comprised of foundation courses in the fall semester, followed in the spring and summer semesters by modules that provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine.

Elective course work in Medical Spanish is available to Physician Assistant students. The Department of Languages & Literatures offers a graduate certificate in Spanish for Health Professions along with other elective courses. This is an excellent opportunity for students as well as graduates to enhance their credentials.

Clinical Year Rotation goals are designed to meet the needs of the student and to address the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) accreditation standards. The Clinical Year staff places students in eight rotations which best address PA student educational objectives and at sites which promote continued, quality, preceptor relations with the ISU PA Program. There are seven required content areas which include Internal Medicine, Outpatient Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Surgery and Psychiatry. One rotation will be an elective. Students are expected to travel during the clinical year and to pay for the expenses incurred for this travel.

There are three Capstone Assessment Courses in the second year of the PA Program. Together they represent a comprehensive assessment of the students. The Capstone Assessment III course is the third one in the series and students are required to study for and pass multiple objective examinations.

Didactic Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
BIOL 55294PAS 66301PAS 66392
BIOL 55634PAS 66312PAS 66434
BIOL 55644PAS 66322PAS 66462
PAS 66017PAS 66332PAS 66501
PAS 66023PAS 66342PAS 66512
PAS 66036PAS 66353PAS 66521
PAS 66042PAS 66364PAS 66532
SPAN 44991-6PAS 66374PAS 66548
 PAS 66382PAS 66571
 PAS 66402 
 PAS 66412 
 PAS 66423 
 PAS 66451 
 PAS 66561 
 SPAN 44991 
 31-36 32 23
Total Hours: 86-91
Clinical Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
PAS 66614PAS 66644PAS 66674
PAS 66624PAS 66654PAS 66684
PAS 66634PAS 66664PAS 66731
PAS 66711PAS 66722 
 13 14 9
Total Hours: 36

Medical Spanish elective offerings available to MPAS students

The Department of Languages and Literatures, in cooperation with the Division of Health Sciences, has created a new cooperative, interdisciplinary major in Spanish for the Health Professions (SHP), as well as a SHP graduate certificate. The hybrid undergraduate degree and graduate certificate are designed to increase graduate marketability and to better serve the health care needs of our state, region, and country.

Matriculated PA students may take individual SHP courses or pursue a Graduate Certificate in SHP. Dr. Helen Tarp, Director of the SHP Program has a joint appointment with the Department of Languages and Literature and the Department of PAS. She teaches regularly scheduled Spanish courses for PAS students during the Didactic Year as well as other Spanish coursework in the Literature and Languages Department.

Access to individual Spanish for Health Professions courses

Theses SHP courses are designed to be flexible enough to fit a PA student’s schedule and also enhance what the PA student is learning in the MPAS curriculum. Here are examples of the course offerings: SPAN 5594 Topics in Language and Culture for the Professions I (1-3 cr), and SPAN 5595 Topics in Language and Culture for the Professions II (1-3 cr) are variable-credit courses covering special topics such as Spanish Medical Terminology, Spanish for Pharmacy, for OBGYN, Diabetes Management, Oral Health, Mental Health, Emergency Room/Trauma, the Physical Exam, and Nutrition. These courses are hybrid courses combining online coursework and a workshop experience with mock patients. SPAN 5501, Spanish for the Physician Assistant, is an eight week-course designed specifically for PAS to enable students to conduct a medical history and physical exam for a Spanish-speaking patient. PA students wishing to take these courses S/U may take them as undergraduate courses (SPAN 4494, SPAN 4495, SPAN 4499). A more complete listing of the individual courses can be found at: http://www.isu.edu/foreign/hcp_currentofferings.shtml.

Graduate Certificate in SHP (minimum of 9 credits)

Coursework credits counting toward the Graduate Certificate can be earned by PAS coursework/clinical rotations, as well as coursework and experience obtained after graduation from the PA program while continuing pursuit of the Certificate. There are three core areas of instruction: the Language Core, Health Professions Core, and Culture Core. The assessments in the three cores of instruction are designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in all three areas, and to have their proficiency be a significant, tangible contribution to their MPAS degree. The Department of Languages and Literatures provides the Language Core and elements of the Culture Core which are delivered by faculty with qualifications in medical interpretation and translation. The Culture Core and diversity courses are provided by several departments in the College of Arts and Letters.  For more details see: http://www.isu.edu/foreign/curriculum.shtml.

International Rotation and Medical Mission experiences

In addition to course offerings and the Graduate Certificate in SHP, MPAS students are eligible to participate in two medical missions to Spanish-speaking countries (Dominican Republic and Peru) and an international clinical rotation in Belize. These international experiences are strictly voluntary. SHP credit (SPAN 5593 Spanish Internship, SPAN 5505 Spanish Exchange, or SPAN 5580 Special Topics) is available for these experiences. 

How to Read Course Descriptions

Courses

PAS 5589 Individual Problems in PAS: 1-3 semester hours.

Assigned on the basis of interest, preparation, and faculty availability. Participation in this course in no way influences opportunity to be accepted into the PA Program. May be repeated for up to 3 credits. PREREQ: Approval of PA Director.

PAS 5599 Experimental Course: 1-6 semester hours.

This is an experimental course. The course title and number of credits are noted by course section and announced in the class schedule by the scheduling department. Experimental courses may be offered no more than three times. May be repeated.

PAS 6601 Introduction to Physician Assistant: 7 semester hours.

Provides an introduction to the physician assistant profession, health promotion/disease prevention, medical ethics, medical imaging, laboratory medicine, and medical decision-making.

PAS 6602 Evidence-Based Medicine and Biostatistics: 3 semester hours.

Emphasizes use of current research evidence in medical decision-making, a practice known as evidence-based medicine. Topics include critical analysis of the medical literature, biostatistics, and application of EBM to patient care.

PAS 6603 Clinical Assessment: 6 semester hours.

Provides an introduction to medical interviewing and techniques for performing and recording a complete medical history and physical examination.

PAS 6604 Pharmacology: 2 semester hours.

An introduction to foundational concepts of therapeutic pharmacology, with emphasis on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

PAS 6630 Allergy and Immunology Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6631 Infectious Disease Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6632 Hematology and Oncology Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6633 Endocrinology Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6634 Renal Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6635 Pulmonary Module: 3 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6636 Cardiology Module: 4 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6637 Gastroenterology Module: 4 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6638 ENT Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6639 Dermatology Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6640 Rheumatology Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6641 Orthopedics Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6642 Psychiatry Module: 3 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6643 Genitourinary Module: 4 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6645 Ophthalmology Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6646 Neurology Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6647 Human Sexuality Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6648 Womens Health Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6649 Mens Health and Urology Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6650 Obstetrics and Perinatology Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6651 Pediatrics Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6652 Geriatrics Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6653 Surgery Module: 2 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6654 Emergency Medicine Module: 8 semester hours.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6656 Alternative and Occupational Medicine Module: 1 semester hour.

Lectures, laboratory practicum, problem-based learning, small group discussions, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and service learning are integrated to provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine. May be graded S/U.

PAS 6657 Comprehensive Evaluation: 1 semester hour.

An end-of-didactic-year comprehensive evaluation of the physician assistant student's knowledge, skills, abilities, and professional behavior. The student must receive a grade of satisfactory in order to progress to the clinical year of the program.

PAS 6660 Clinical Rotation I: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in medical practice settings. PREREQ: Successful completion of all PAS didactic year requirements.

PAS 6661 Clinical Rotation I: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: Successful completion of all PAS didactic year requirements.

PAS 6662 Clinical Rotation II: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6661.

PAS 6663 Clinical Rotation III: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care and/or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6662.

PAS 6664 Clinical Rotation IV: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care and/or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6663.

PAS 6665 Clinical Rotation V: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care and/or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6664.

PAS 6666 Clinical Rotation VI: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care and/or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6665.

PAS 6667 Clinical Rotation VII: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care and/or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6666.

PAS 6668 Clinical Rotation VIII: 4 semester hours.

Supervised clinical practicum in primary care and/or specialty care in medical practice settings. Graded S/U. PREREQ: PAS 6667.

PAS 6671 Capstone Assessment I: 1 semester hour.

There are three Capstone Assessment courses in the second year of the PA program. Together they represent a comprehensive assessment of the students. Capstone Assessment I course is the first one in the series and students are required to study for and pass multiple objective examinations.

PAS 6672 Capstone Assessment II: 2 semester hours.

There are three Capstone Assessment courses in the second year of the PA program. Together they represent a comprehensive assessment of the students. Capstone Assessment II course is the second one in the series and students are required to study for and pass multiple objective examinations. Additionally they are required to complete and present a medical case study under the direction of the PA program faculty.

PAS 6673 Capstone Assessment III: 1 semester hour.

There are three Capstone Assessment courses in the second year of the PA program. Together they represent a comprehensive assessment of the students. The Capstone Assessment III course is the third one in the series and students are required to study for and pass multiple objective examinations.

PAS 6689 Graduate Special Topics: 1-4 semester hours.

Special topics in specific areas of physician assistant studies which may include didactic and/or clinical studies. May be repeated up to 14 credits.

PAS 6699 Experimental Course: 1-6 semester hours.

This is an experimental course. The course title and number of credits are noted by course section and announced in the class schedule by the scheduling department. Experimental courses may be offered no more than three times. May be repeated.

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