Nov 26, 2022  
2020-2022 Catalog Volume XXX Ver 3 
    
2020-2022 Catalog Volume XXX Ver 3

School of Physician Assistant Studies



Knoxville/Atlanta

Mission/Philosophy

The mission of the South College Master of Health Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is to educate highly qualified physician assistants, preparing them to become competent, compassionate, and comprehensive health care providers for clinical practice in rural and urban areas, focusing on underserved communities.

Endeavoring to provide students with a comprehensive evidence-based medical education that focuses on the future delivery of excellent health care, the program promotes the importance of health maintenance, health education, the prevention of disease, and the need for a lifelong path dedicated to continuous learning and self-assessment. The faculty strive for educational excellence as they prepare physician assistant students to think critically, communicate compassionately, and understand the importance of collaborating in interdisciplinary health care teams to meet patient and family needs within an ever changing health care delivery system.

Vision

South College School of Physician Assistant Studies graduates will be leaders in the health care community, continuously striving for excellence in their professional endeavors.

Goals

The program has determined six primary goals essential to the achievement of the mission and vision.

  1. Evaluate and select highly qualified applicants for admission to the program.
  2. Provide students with a rigorous didactic curriculum that promotes lifelong learning skills and prepares them for clinical rotations.
  3. Provide students with a comprehensive clinical curriculum that prepares them to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam and to become competent, compassionate, and comprehensive healthcare providers.
  4. Prepare students to make significant contributions in the communities that they serve, foster their ability to improve patient care practices, and promote the PA profession.
  5. Recruit and select highly qualified faculty to provide innovative education and training of students, and ongoing assessment and improvement of the program.
  6. Maintain programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) through a process of continuous program self-assessment.

Roles, Competencies, and Performance Criteria Expected of Graduates from the South College Physician Assistant Program

Using appropriate competencies and psychomotor skill sets, the graduate will be able to elicit a detailed and accurate history; perform a comprehensive physical examination under the direction of a licensed physician regardless of the patient’s age, sex or presenting health care problem; and provide professional patient care in the following ways:

Interpersonal & Communications Skills

  1. Communicate effectively as a health care professional.
  2. Elicit a problem-oriented and/or comprehensive history from patients appropriate for age or gender with an attitude of respect and adherence to the concepts of privileges and confidentially.
  3. Perform a comprehensive and/or focused physical examination appropriate for the patient’s age, gender, and health problem(s), based on historical information.
  4. Assess, monitor, and analyze the information database of the patient.
  5. Organize and communicate information with patients, families, and healthcare team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible.
  6. Utilize the patient database to establish a complete problem list.

Patient Care

  1. Develop primary and differential diagnoses based on the data obtained from an appropriate history and physical exam.
  2. Identify, order, perform, and interpret appropriate diagnostic procedures or studies.
  3. Formulate and document an individual treatment/management plan for a patient appropriate for age, gender, and health problem(s) in consultation with a physician.
  4. Provide health education services to the patient, his/her family members or significant others, the public, or other health care providers.
  5. Provide education and counseling to patient and his/her family or significant others appropriate for their health care problem(s).
  6. Implement, monitor and modify the treatment/management plan for the patient appropriate for age, gender, and health problem(s).
  7. Recognize and manage life-threatening emergencies.

Professionalism

  1. Maintain the ethical code of the PA profession with respect for the diversity of patient values and beliefs as well as the complexities of team-based care.
  2. Manage ethical dilemmas specific to patient/population centered care situations.
  3. Place the interests of patients and populations at the center of interprofessional health care delivery.
  4. Be aware of limitations; seek help and advice when needed.
  5. Demonstrate professional relationships with physician supervisors and other health care providers.
  6. Recognize accountability to patients, society, and the profession.

Practice-based Learning & Improvement

  1. Possess skills for lifelong learning with appropriate use of medical resources.
  2. Possess knowledge and skills essential to incorporating into practice proven evaluation/treatment modalities, preventions and interventions, and compliance techniques.
  3. Use process improvement strategies to increase the effectiveness of interprofessional teamwork and team-based care.

Systems-based Practice

  1. Effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems.
  2. Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities.
  3. Apply leadership practices that support collaborative practice and team effectiveness.

Clinical Competencies

Prior to progressing to the clinical learning year of the program, students will develop and demonstrate proficiency in several psychomotor skill sets involved in procedural medicine, such as suturing, casting and splinting, nasogastric and endotracheal intubation, and sterile technique. The clinical phase of the program is designed to reinforce knowledge and skills developed during the didactic phase. Eight clinical learning rotations, each six weeks in length, are conducted at a variety of outpatient and inpatient clinical sites. Students are expected to develop competency in those areas listed above. During this period, students will be exposed to a wide variety of live patient encounters to assist them in the building of understanding in the diagnoses, pathophysiology, risk factors, laboratory interpretation, and therapeutic strategies involved in patient evaluation and treatment.

Programmatic Accreditation

The goals and objectives of the South College Master of Health Science Physician Assistant program are guided by the criteria set forth in the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Physician Assistant as established by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA)

These guidelines state that the Physician Assistant is academically and clinically prepared to provide health care services with the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. The role of the Physician Assistant demands intelligence, sound judgment, intellectual honesty, appropriate interpersonal skills, and the capacity to react to emergencies in a calm and reasoned manner. An attitude of respect for self and others, adherence to the concepts of privilege and confidentiality in communicating with patients, and a commitment to the patient’s welfare are essential attributes.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the South College Master of Health Science Physician Assistant Program sponsored by South College. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

All students completing study in an accredited program are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and for obtaining a state license. Certification is required in order to practice as a Physician Assistant. The need for licensure is dependent upon each state’s requirements.

PAs must be licensed by the state in which they intend to practice before seeing patients.  State laws and regulations for Physician Assistants vary from state to state.  Statutory and regulatory requirements for initial licensure and license renewal for each state can also be found via this link - https://www.aapa.org/download/19739/. Graduation from an ARC-PA accredited program meets initial licensure requirements for all states (not required currently by Minnesota) and the passing of the PANCE national certification exam is required.  Another resource is https://www.nccpa.net/become-certified. The South College Knoxville/Atlanta PA program is ARC-PA accredited and we work diligently with all students in preparation for the PANCE.

Program Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree (Science, Nursing, Health Science recommended) from a regionally accredited College or University in the United States, prior to matriculation.
  2. Documentation of the following - Overall college cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, completion of all prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75, and completion of all science prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75.
  3. Applicants are encouraged to obtain patient care experience, sufficient to recognize the physical and psychological demands of dealing with patients and to appreciate the challenges and rewards of being a health care professional. Health care experiences should provide the applicant with a knowledge and/or orientation to the signs and symptoms of a variety of ill or injured patients. Health care experiences will be evaluated on an individual basis, with an emphasis on direct patient care.
  4. In order for your application to be processed, we must receive the following items:
  • Verified CASPA application that includes:
  • Official GRE Scores (see #5 for more details),
  • 3 letters of recommendation, one from a health care professional such as a Physician (MD or DO), Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner,
  • Completion of the PA Supplemental Application and fee (see admission application for details and a link).
  1. Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The South College school code for the School of Physician Assistant Studies is 1635. Please note that until your GRE score is marked as official in CASPA, the score is not acknowledged. MCAT scores are not accepted as a substitution.
  2. All students are required to have Current Basic Life Support (BLS) from the American Heart Association. South College will provide this training during orientation or during 1st quarter classes. Most clinical sites do not recognize other institutions. No substitutions are allowed.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs (minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • General Chemistry I and II with labs (minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • Biology I and II (Mammalian, Cell, Human Biology, or General Zoology; minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • English (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  • Statistics, Algebra, Calculus, Finite Math, or other equivalent Advanced Mathematics (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  • Humanities and/or Social Science (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  • Microbiology with laboratory (Minimum of 3 semester hours or 4.5 quarter hours)

Strongly suggested courses includes: Medical Terminology, Genetics, Immunology, Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry.

Selection for the Physician Assistant Program is very competitive. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will generally exceed the minimum criteria for consideration for admission.

Applications are reviewed relative to undergraduate cumulative and pre-requisite course GPAs, health care experience (military or civilian), letters of reference, and GRE scores. Additional consideration is given to applicants with military medical experience. Personal interviews with the principal Physician Assistant faculty, practicing Physicians, and Physician Assistants from the community is required for final admission and offered only to the most qualified individuals.

Transfer of Credit

Applicants to the program should be aware that all courses within the professional didactic and clinical curriculum are required. The Master of Health Science Physician Assistant program at South College does not recognize credit for experiential learning, international medical experience, or transfer credits from another Physician Assistant Program or Medical School.

VET-UP Program

The South College VET-UP program is specifically designed to offer veterans who were medics and corpsmen in the United States Armed Forces the opportunity to continue their professional education with the goal of becoming a Physician Assistant. The program focuses on adding to the extensive military training and real-world experience these veterans have by bridging the gap between military health care experience and the civilian graduate medical education of a Physician Assistant program. The program offers mentorship, advice, and partnering with a veteran faculty member. Contact the School of Physician Assistant Studies for more information.

Technical Standards

The granting of a Master of Health Science (MHS) degree and completion of the professional phase signifies that the student is prepared for employment as a Physician Assistant. In such a professional role, the Physician Assistant can provide medical services with the supervision of a doctor of medicine or osteopathic medicine in accordance with applicable laws of medical practice. The services must, for the safety and welfare of the patient, be of the same professional quality that would be rendered by the supervising physician.

The Physician Assistant must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Candidates for the Physician Assistant profession must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing. A candidate’s diagnostic skills will also be lessened without the functional use of the senses of equilibrium, smell and taste. Additionally, they must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, and temperature), and sufficient motor function to permit them to carry out the activities described in the sections that follow.

Candidates must be able to integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, consistently, quickly, and accurately, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data. A candidate for the Physician Assistant profession must have abilities and skills of six varieties including observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative and quantitative, and behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in certain of these areas, but such a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

General Abilities

The candidate is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement. Furthermore, he or she must have the physical and emotional stamina and capacity to function in a competent manner, and consistent with these standards, in the classroom as well clinical and laboratory settings including settings that may involve heavy full-time workloads, long hours, and stressful situations.

Observational Ability

The candidate is expected to participate in and observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including but not limited to physiologic and pharmacological demonstrations in animals, microbiological cultures, and microscopic study of organisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. The candidate is expected to observe the patient accurately at a distance and close at hand and accurately assess health/illness alteration. Inherent in this observation process is the use of the senses and sufficient motor capability to carry out the necessary assessment activities.

Communication Ability

The candidate is expected to be able to effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and postures and to perceive nonverbal communications. This requires the ability to read, write, and effectively utilize the English language. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively with patients and other professionals both orally and in written form.

Motor Ability

The candidate is expected to be able to perform gross and fine motor movements required to perform a complete physical examination (including genital examination). The candidate is expected to have the psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, managing of equipment, and emergency intervention. The candidate is expected to be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium, and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical experiences.

The candidate should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. The candidate must be able to perform laboratory tests, work with scientific and other instruments and machinery, and perform essential skills and emergent treatment to patients. This includes, but is not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch, vision, and hearing.

Critical Thinking Ability

The candidate is expected to have the ability to develop and refine problem-solving skills. This includes the ability to measure, calculate, analyze and synthesize objective as well as subjective data and make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and clinical judgment. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Interpersonal Abilities

The candidate is expected to have the emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment and complete assessment and intervention activities. The candidate is expected to establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds. The candidate is expected to have the flexibility to function effectively under stress. Concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. The candidate must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The candidate must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and education process.

In addition to the abilities and skills set forth above, the candidate must possess the general physical health necessary for performing the duties of a physician assistant student without endangering the lives of patients and/or colleagues with whom the student might have contact. Candidates whose performance is impaired by abuse of alcohol or other substances are not suitable for admission, continuation, promotion, or graduation.

Students with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. However, it is the responsibility of the candidate to notify South College in writing with medical documentation from their provider, (Student Affairs Coordinator, South College, 3904 Lonas Dr., Knoxville, TN 37909) and verbally if there is any reason why the abilities and/or expectations described cannot be met. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. However, it is the responsibility of the candidate to notify South College if there is any reason why the abilities and/or expectations described cannot be met. Candidates will be presented with these technical standards during the final stage of admission to the program. At that time, the candidate will review these standards with the program faculty and sign a form indicating his/her ability to meet the standards. Candidates who indicate that they cannot meet one or more of these requirements, will be referred to the Student Affairs Coordinator to determine what, if any reasonable accommodations might be possible to facilitate successful completion of the degree requirements, if admitted to the program. Candidates with further questions or concerns regarding these technical standards should contact the Physician Assistant Program at 865-251-1800. Candidates with questions about Disability Services should contact the Student Affairs Coordinator (865-251-1800).

Accommodations

Students requesting special services (including accommodations for disabilities) from the college should contact the Director of Student Success/Affairs for complete information on college policy and procedures. All special requests should be made at least one month prior to the beginning of classes in order to allow time for the request to be evaluated appropriately. South College does not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are becoming mandatory at medical institutions as a requirement of The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). In order to ensure patient safety and security, South College will require students to go through a criminal background check prior to being admitted. Applicants should be aware that a prior criminal background might restrict the ability to obtain professional state licensure. Acceptance into a South College program does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain such licensure.

Student Employment

The PA faculty believes that no student is capable of acquiring the level of knowledge needed to perform adequately as a Physician Assistant student if they engage in outside employment during the PA Program. Students are apprised of this policy during the interview process and are reminded that they must not engage in outside employment during the PA curriculum. Full-time employment while in the didactic and/or clinical learning year of the program is prohibited. At no time is a student to be substituted for a faculty member or clinician. Students are not to be employed while on their clinical learning rotations by preceptors or health care facilities. Students may not serve or perform as staff members of the program unless they are part of a specific federal, state, or South College work-study program. Work study students are not permitted to have access to confidential student records or student information and/or testing materials.

Students who have other valid professional licenses/titles such as Ph.D., Respiratory Therapist, Licensed Practical or Registered Nurse, or Laboratory Technician, may not function in those capacities nor utilize these titles in spoken or written communication while enrolled in the Physician Assistant program. Students shall not misrepresent their status as students by identifying themselves as anything other than a Physician Assistant Student, nor shall they allow their patients to identify them as a graduate Physician Assistant or Physician.

Health Insurance

All PA students are required to carry health insurance (including hospitalization) throughout the entire program. It is the responsibility of the student to purchase health insurance and provide proof of insurance. Health concerns should be addressed with your primary care provider. South College does not have student health facilities, but we do have an agreement with Cherokee Health Systems to provide services to our students. Students are financially responsible for any services rendered by Cherokee. Once matriculated into the Physician Assistant Program, students must show compliance with the health policy, including personal health insurance coverage within one month of the start of classes. Failure to do so may result in being liable for dismissal from the program. Students must re-certify their health status (including proof of health insurance) prior to beginning the clinical phase of the program. Students may not engage in clinical activities until compliance has been met.

Volunteer Work Experiences

Students who are involved in, or commence, volunteer or paid work during the course of their Physician Assistant training, cannot use their affiliation with the Physician Assistant Program in any aspect of that job. Work outside the Physician Assistant Program undertaken by the student, independent of the Program, is not covered by the liability offered for clinical work associated with the educational experience.

Immunizations

Prior to entering the South College Physician Assistant Program, students must submit health provider proof of a health examination and updated information of immunization health certificate indicating TB testing results and HBV immunization series.

Specific Related Requirements Include:

  1. Provide proof of personal health insurance throughout the entire program;
  2. Provide proof of current BLS certification;
  3. Provide proof of a satisfactory physical examination (also prior to clinical year);
  4. Provide proof of TB Skin Test (positive results will require the student to receive a chest x-ray and further evaluation);
  5. Provide proof of Hepatitis B vaccine and positive Hep B Ab;
  6. Provide proof of MMR vaccine or immunity; and,
  7. Provide proof of Varicella titer or vaccination.

Prior to Entering the Clinical Phase of the Program, Students Must Again Update Their Immunization and Health Certificate and Provide Proof of the Following:

  1. Provide proof of current BLS, ACLS, and PALS certifications;
  2. Provide proof of updated annual TB PPD or tine test;
  3. Provide proof of blood-borne pathogen orientation course; and
  4. Provide proof of current personal health insurance, throughout the clinical year.

For more information about immunization of Health Care Workers go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.

Estimated Program Costs Knoxville/Atlanta (Effective October 2022)a

  Tuition ($12,250 per quarter) x 2.25 yrs (9 quarters) = $ 110,250i  
  Technology fee (9 quarters) = $ 2,655  
  Professional uniforms = $ 200  
  Textbooks (didactic and clinical years) = $ 2,300  
  Medical equipment = $ 1,500b  
  Smartphone = $ 199c  
  Laptop = $ 800  
  AAPA student membership (for 3 years) = $ 75  
  TAPA student membership (for 3 years) = $ 150j  
  Background Checks and Drug Screening = $ 200d  
  Housing costs for clinical year rotations = $ 3,000e  
  Health insurance to cover immunization, coverage for needle sticks and physical examinations = $ 1,000f  
  Clinical tracking expenses = $ 100g  
  Transcript Fee = $ 10  
  Graduation Fee = $ 300  
  Total Estimated Cost for entire Master of Health Science Program = $ 122,739a

aThese are estimated costs for the entire program. Tuition, fees, and costs are subject to change. Tuition for in-state and out-of- state residents is the same.
bMedical Supply costs are dependent on personal selection of equipment; students will have the opportunity to purchase equipment during the orientation at South College.
cThere are additional costs, which vary according to personal choice, for a required service plan. Mobile broadband currently includes fourth generation (4G) and fifth generation (5G) networks.
dApproximate cost required for credentialing. Typically done one per year, however, rotation sites may require additional checks or screens.
eHousing costs are based on clinical sites that are over 50 miles from campus. Students are likely to travel to distant sites, including out of state, for several supervised clinical practice experiences (rotations).
fStudents are required to have their own health insurance prior to entering the program; many plans offer this service. Costs will vary according to plan.
g The program uses the CORE system of tracking, which offers the student a permanent record of procedures and patient encounters during the clinical year. Fees may include My Clinical Exchange and ACEMAPP an onboarding credentialing platform.
iLife Support Re-Certification/Acute Life Support Certification/Pediatric Acute Life Support Certification, are covered under the total tuition costs.
jGAPA currently has no student fees.

Academic Calendar

The Physician Assistant Program academic calendar may vary from the institutional calendar due to experiential requirements for the program. Information will be provided to Physician Assistant students both in-person and via the institutional website.

Evaluation of Professional Conduct

In concert with the core competencies for the Physician Assistant profession, the faculty of the Master of Health Science Physician Assistant Program at South College has established standards for evaluating the professional conduct of all students. This evaluation of professional conduct is in direct compliance with the core competency of professionalism that will be required of practicing Physician Assistants in their daily clinical life. At the end of every quarter, the core faculty will conduct a professional review of students.

Professional conduct evaluations will include the components of the Physician Assistant Program Honor Code and the following considerations:

  1. Concern for the welfare of patients as evidenced by thoughtful and professional attitude in obtaining history and physical examinations; avoidance of foul language, offensive gestures, inappropriate remarks, or remarks with sexual overtones; treatment of patients with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with peers; manifestation of concern for the total patient.
  2. Concern for the rights of others, shown by: treating professional and staff personnel, peer members of the Physician Assistant class, and health care team in a considerate manner and with a spirit of cooperation; acting with an egalitarian spirit towards all persons encountered in a classroom setting or a professional capacity regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability; and assuming an appropriate and equitable concern of duties among peers.
  3. Responsibility to duty which involves: effectively undertaking duties with alacrity and persevering until complete or notifying responsible persons of problems; punctual attendance of classes, rounds, conferences and other clinical duties, or offering appropriate explanation when unable to be present; notifying course directors and supervising clinical preceptors of absence or inability to carry out duties; seeing patients regularly, assuming responsibility for their care with appropriate supervision; identifying emergencies and responding appropriately; and ensuring that he/she can be located when on duty by faculty or staff personnel.
  4. Trustworthiness, that is: being truthful and intellectually honest in communication with others; acceptance of responsibility for meeting multiple demands by establishing proper priorities and by completing work necessary for the optimal care of patients; discerning accurately when supervision or advice is needed before acting; and maintaining confidentiality of information concerning patients.
  5. Professional demeanor, which means: a neat and clean appearance in attire that appears professional to the patient population; maintaining equilibrium under pressures of fatigue, professional stress, or personal problems; and refraining from the use of alcohol or drugs while on campus, during clinical rotations, or during any South College meeting or activity.

The results of this review will be shared with and signed by each student; any student requiring additional counseling or professional development will meet with both his/her academic advisor and the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education. If a student receives an unsatisfactory evaluation regarding professional conduct, written notification to the student by the faculty is required together with written documentation of the events leading to the unsatisfactory evaluation. This notification will also be forwarded to the Student Progress Committee, which consists of the principal PA faculty, and to the Program Director. If the documented event involves a severe offense, the student may be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Program regardless of previous academic record. If a student receives an unsatisfactory evaluation of professional conduct, or a violation of the Honor Code, the student may be issued a letter of warning, be placed on professional probation, or depending on the violation, be dismissed from the program. Recommendations for dismissal will be made to the Student Progress Committee. A dismissal decision of the Student Progress Committee may be appealed to the Associate Dean/Program Director. The decision of the Program Director may be appealed to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness of South College. The Vice Chancellor reserves the right to refer any appeal to the South College Academic and Conduct Appeals Committee. All appeals must be made within five business days of notification of a decision. The decision of the Vice Chancellor or the South College Appeals Committee is final and not subject to further appeal. Students with a final dismissal from the School of Physician Assistant Studies may reapply for admission through the regular admissions process.

Alcohol, Drugs, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Hazing, and Discrimination

Policies regarding alcohol, drugs, sexual harassment, sexual assault, hazing, and discrimination can be found in the South College Student Handbook. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, color, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation is not tolerated. The use of drugs or alcohol while in the PA program is prohibited. There is zero tolerance for violence, drug or alcohol use, sexual harassment, or hazing at any time during the program, including while on campus, at PA program events in the community, and/or during clinical rotations.

Requirements for Graduation from the Physician Assistant Program

The following criteria must be met in order to qualify for graduation with the Master of Health Science degree, and a certificate of completion from the South College Physician Assistant Studies Program. Successful candidates for graduation must:

  1. Satisfactorily complete all courses within the didactic and clinical learning phases of the Physician Assistant program with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0;
  2. Achieve a minimum grade of 70% in all didactic courses and clinical rotations;
  3. Successfully complete the Capstone Research Project, Didactic Summative Evaluation, and Clinical Summative Review with a minimum grade of 80%;
  4. Successfully complete the ACLS and PALS courses;
  5. Maintain BLS certification throughout the program;
  6. Complete 50 hours of program-approved community service;
  7. Abide by all South College rules and regulations, and settle all financial accounts with South College prior to graduation; and.
  8. Abide by professional conduct as defined by Physician Assistant Program Honor Code.

Program faculty make the final decision regarding the graduation of each of the Program’s students. Thus, if a student is determined by the faculty to be unprepared for clinical practice, he or she will not be recommended for graduation, regardless of mathematical calculation of grades and/or GPA.

Each candidate for the Master of Health Science degree must be free of indebtedness to the college. The graduate degree and the academic transcript or certification of completion will not be given until all financial obligations to South College have been met.

The program completion date is the same as the program graduation date each year. All above graduation requirements must be finalized by the end of business on the day before graduation. Graduation occurs following the clinical learning year in mid-December on the following dates:

December 12, 2020 December 18, 2021 December 17, 2022

Graduation dates are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.

Matriculation and attendance at the college are privileges granted to the student in consideration of performance of specified assignments and the maintenance of established standards of personal and professional conduct. The college reserves the right, and the student, by the act of matriculation, concedes to the college the right to require withdrawal at any time the college deems it necessary to safeguard the standards of scholarship, conduct, and compliance with regulations, or for such other reasons deemed appropriate by the college as set forth in the program manual and/or the South College Catalog.

Academic Standards, Student Progress, Grading

The Student Progress Committee will review each student’s scholastic achievement record, clinical learning progress, and professional behavior at the end of each quarter. The academic and clinical standards that must be met by each student are outlined in the Requirements for Graduation from the Physician Assistant Program section. The professional standards that must be met by each student are also outlined in the Evaluation of Professional Conduct section. The evaluation process by this Committee includes first a review by each Course Director or Clinical Preceptor, then review by the Faculty Advisor, then review by the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education, and finally by the Program Director. The findings of these reviews are then presented to the Committee by the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education. If a student fails to meet academic, clinical, and/or professional standards, the Committee will meet with the student in question.

Depending on the nature of the academic, clinical, and/or professional deficiency, the Committee will determine the status of the student’s academic/clinical standing, which may include warning, probation, or dismissal from the program.

The Categories of Academic/Clinical Standing are:

Good Standing: Status of a student who has met course and clinical requirements in a satisfactory manner and has demonstrated good professional behavior.
Warning: Status of a student whose performance in an academic course or clinical rotation places him/her in jeopardy of falling below the minimum stated standards, or who has exhibited questionable professional behavior.
Probation: Status of a student whose performance in the program has fallen below the minimum stated standards, or who has exhibited unacceptable professional behavior.
Dismissal: Action whereby a student will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program of South College due to failure to adhere to academic, clinical, and/or professional standards. Dismissal will occur after review of the student’s academic and/or professional deficiency by the Student Progress Committee, the Program Director, and following approval by the South College Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness.

The causes of and consequences for receiving a Warning, Probation, or Dismissal are:

Warning

A student who receives a grade of less than 70% on any quiz, exam, or other individual assessment tool (or who fails any pass/fail exercise) in a didactic course or clinical rotation will receive a warning and must meet with the Course Director (didactic or clinical) for remediation. No remediation will be offered for final exams or final projects. A student may also receive a warning for questionable professional behavior.

Warning in a Didactic Course. The Course Director and student will review the questions and answers that the student missed on the exam or other assessment tool. The Course Director will ensure that the student understands the material and will make recommendations to the student for satisfactory performance on future exams/assessments. The student and Course Director will fill out the Record of Remediation form. Acquisition of knowledge will be measured by student performance on the cumulative portion of the course midterm and/or final exam. Copies of the Record of Remediation form will be made for the Course Director, the Director of Didactic Education, the student’s faculty advisor, and the student’s file.

Warning in a Clinical Rotation. If a student scores below 70% on a graded activity during the Clinical year, the student and Course Director will fill out the Record of Remediation form. The Course Director will provide the student with a list of topics that were missed on the exam or other assessment tool. The student will be issued a remediation plan and a deadline for completion of his/her plan. After the remediation plan has been completed, the student will be re-examined based upon the nature of his/her deficiency. On re-examination, the student is expected to achieve a minimum grade of 80%. Failure to adhere to deadlines and/or failure to achieve a minimum grade of 80% will result in referral to the Student Progress Committee. Copies of the Record of Remediation form and any correspondence will be made for the Course Director, the Director of Clinical Education, the Director of Didactic Education, the student’s faculty advisor, and the student’s file.

Warning for a Professional Behavior Issue. A student with a professional behavior issue will meet with the Student Progress Committee. If the committee determines that the student exhibited questionable professional behavior, the student will be warned that additional behavior could lead to probation or dismissal, depending on the nature of the behavior.

Probation

A student will be placed on Probation if: (1) his/her cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or (2) he/she fails to exhibit appropriate professional behavior.

  1. Students with a Cumulative GPA Below 3.0. A student with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 at the end of any didactic quarter or clinical rotation will receive notification from the Student Progress Committee that he/she is on Probation. If the student fails to raise his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or higher at the end of the next didactic quarter or clinical rotation, he/she will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program. If the student raises his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or higher at the end of the next didactic quarter or clinical rotation, he/she will be removed from probation. If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 a second time, he/she will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program.
  2. Students Cited for a Professional Behavior Issue. A student who fails to exhibit appropriate professional behavior must meet with the Student Progress Committee to define a plan for remediation. The student and the Chair of the Student Progress Committee must sign the remediation plan. If the student fails to fulfill or achieve the minimum outcomes described in his/her remediation plan, he/she will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program. If the student fulfills the outcomes described in his/her remediation plan, he/she will be removed from probation.

Dismissal

Students will be dismissed for failure to comply with academic, clinical, or professional standards. Students will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program when:

  1. A student fails (grade below a 70%) any didactic course or clinical rotation;
  2. A student has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 at the end of any didactic quarter or clinical rotation and then fails to raise his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or higher at the end of the next didactic quarter or clinical rotation;
  3. A student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 for a second time (at the end of a didactic quarter or clinical rotation);
  4. A student fails to achieve the plans and outcomes listed in a remediation worksheet;
  5. A student fails to successfully complete the Capstone research project, Didactic Summative review, and Clinical Summative Review, with a minimum grade of 80%;
  6. A student’s professional conduct violates the performance standards set forth in the Physician Assistant Studies Program’s Honor Code, the South College Student Code of Conduct, state or federal law, or for moral turpitude, unprofessional behavior, criminal activity, or other reasons as defined by the College;
  7. South College reserves the right to dismiss at any time a student who, in its judgment, is undesirable and whose continued enrollment is detrimental to him/herself or his/her fellow students or whose presence is disruptive to the learning environment or the orderly operation of the College.

A dismissal decision of the Student Progress Committee may be appealed to the Associate Dean/Program Director. The decision of the Associate Dean/Program Director may be appealed to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness of South College. The Vice Chancellor reserves the right to refer any appeal to the South College Academic and Conduct Appeals Committee. The decision of the Vice Chancellor or the South College Appeals Committee may be appealed to the Chancellor. Please see the South College Student Handbook for information appealing to the Chancellor.

Grading

Course Directors (in concert with the Course Instructors and Clinical Preceptors) will determine the means by which the final grade will be computed, which may include exam scores, oral presentations, written assignments, laboratory exercises, practical examinations, class participation, clinical participation, clinical performance, and other means of evaluation. Except in the case of an error on the part of faculty, preceptors, or administration, no grade changes will be honored after the end of the course. All didactic courses and clinical rotations will be graded with a letter grade of A, B, C, or F. All didactic courses and clinical rotations will be assigned appropriate credit hours. One credit hour is equal to approximately 10 hours of lecture, small group conference, and required practice per quarter. One credit hour of laboratory sessions is equal to approximately 20 contact hours per quarter. One credit hour of clinical is equal to approximately 30 contact hours per clinical rotation. Course Directors also determine grade adjustments for the purpose of standardization with the A-F scale. Where objective testing is used, scores and grades will be correlated as follows:

Letter Grade Q.P Percentage Score Range
A 4.00 90-100%
B 3.00 80-89%
C 2.00 70-79%
F 0.00 0-69%

Students enrolled in the Master of Health Science, Physician Assistant Program at South College must successfully complete all didactic courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in order to proceed to the clinical learning phase of the program. In addition, in order to graduate and be awarded a Masters of Health Science degree, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of the clinical learning phase. Successful completion of the program is defined as having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for the entire program.

Attendance and Testing

The Physician Assistant curriculum requires students to master a large amount of information and skills in a very short period of time. Excused absences must be obtained from the course director or co-course director, in an email on which the student’s advisor and the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education for didactic and clinical students respectively is included. The Physician Assistant program utilizes the following attendance and testing policies:

Attendance:

  1. Attendance for all scheduled lectures, laboratory sessions, and student meetings is mandatory for didactic students.
  2. Call Back Clinical Learning Days are mandatory for all clinical learning students.
  3. While the program makes every effort to schedule classes and rotations on weekdays, students may be required to attend classes and/or clinical rotations on Saturday and Sunday. Participation is mandatory.
  4. Didactic courses and Call Back Clinical Learning Days may utilize an attendance and grade reduction policy that may result in a failing course grade (F) for unexcused absences. Course Directors will outline and discuss their attendance and grade reduction policies in their course syllabi.
  5. Time missed for a medical appointment must be documented with a dated, signed note from the medical provider.
  6. Students with unexcused absences will be brought before the Student Progress Committee.

Testing:

  1. Absence will typically be defined as being 15 or more minutes late for a scheduled class or laboratory session.
  2. Instructors may offer “make-up exams” in the event of an “Excused Absence” with the permission of the Director of Didactic Education, within a reasonable period of time.
  3. Make-up exams will not be given in the case of an “Unexcused Absence.”
  4. Students who are late for a scheduled exam will not be allowed additional time to complete the exam and will not be allowed to enter the classroom and initiate the exam if another student has already completed the exam and left the room.

Course Syllabi and Objectives

For every course and clinical learning rotation, students will be provided with a complete syllabus, which includes specific, measurable, course goals and learning objectives, outlining the intended scope of the course. Course descriptions and course schedules will also be included. Students are expected to learn all information identified in the course goals and learning objectives and should expect to be tested on such material.

Each instructor, in concert with the Course Director, reserves the right to alter the syllabus as time, teaching materials, new clinical and scientific information, or the necessity of a sequenced, integrated, Physician Assistant curriculum dictate. Any altered materials will be made available to the student at lecture time. If there are questions regarding course goals, course objectives, learning objectives, or expected course outcomes, the student is expected to direct his/her questions first to the Course Instructor, then the Course Director, and if needed to the Director of Didactic Education.

Nashville

Mission/Philosophy

The mission of the South College, Nashville Campus Master of Health Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is to educate highly qualified physician assistants, preparing them to become competent, compassionate, and comprehensive health care providers for clinical practice in rural and urban areas, who will mature into leaders within the medical community.

Endeavoring to provide students with a comprehensive evidence-based medical education that focuses on the future delivery of excellent health care, the program promotes the importance of health maintenance, health education, the prevention of disease, and the need for a lifelong path dedicated to continuous learning and self-assessment. The faculty strive for educational excellence as they prepare physician assistant students to think critically, communicate compassionately, and understand the importance of collaborating in interdisciplinary health care teams to meet patient and family needs within an ever-changing health care delivery system.

Vision

South College School of Physician Assistant Studies graduates will be leaders in the health care community, continuously striving for excellence in their professional endeavors.

Goals

The program has determined six primary goals that are designed to achieve our mission and vision for educating the next generation of highly qualified physician assistants.

  1. Evaluate and select highly qualified applicants for admission to the program.
  2. Provide students with a rigorous didactic curriculum that promotes lifelong learning skills and prepares them for clinical rotations.
  3. Provide students with a comprehensive clinical curriculum that prepares them to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam and to become competent, compassionate, and comprehensive healthcare providers.
  4. Prepare students to make significant contributions in the communities that they serve, foster their ability to improve patient care practices, and promote the PA profession.
  5. Recruit and select highly qualified faculty to provide innovative education and training of students, and ongoing assessment and improvement of the program.
  6. Maintain programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) through a process of continuous program self-assessment.

Roles, Competencies, and Performance Criteria Expected of Graduates from the South College Physician Assistant Program

Using appropriate competencies and psychomotor skill sets, the graduate will be able to elicit a detailed and accurate history; perform a comprehensive physical examination under the direction of a licensed physician regardless of the patient’s age, sex or presenting health care problem; and provide professional patient care in the following ways:

Interpersonal & Communications Skills

  1. Communicate effectively as a health care professional.
  2. Elicit a problem-oriented and/or comprehensive history from patients appropriate for age or gender with an attitude of respect and adherence to the concepts of privileges and confidentially.
  3. Perform a comprehensive and/or focused physical examination appropriate for the patient’s age, gender, and health problem(s), based on historical information.
  4. Assess, monitor, and analyze the information database of the patient.
  5. Organize and communicate information with patients, families, and healthcare team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible.
  6. Utilize the patient database to establish a complete problem list.

Patient Care

  1. Develop primary and differential diagnoses based on the data obtained from an appropriate history and physical exam.
  2. Identify, order, perform, and interpret appropriate diagnostic procedures or studies.
  3. Formulate and document an individual treatment/management plan for a patient appropriate for age, gender, and health problem(s) in consultation with a physician.
  4. Provide health education services to the patient, his/her family members or significant others, the public, or other health care providers.
  5. Provide education and counseling to patient and his/her family or significant others appropriate for their health care problem(s).
  6. Implement, monitor and modify the treatment/management plan for the patient appropriate for age, gender, and health problem(s).
  7. Recognize and manage life-threatening emergencies.

Professionalism

  1. Maintain the ethical code of the PA profession with respect for the diversity of patient values and beliefs as well as the complexities of team-based care.
  2. Manage ethical dilemmas specific to patient/population centered care situations.
  3. Place the interests of patients and populations at the center of interprofessional health care delivery.
  4. Be aware of limitations; seek help and advice when needed.
  5. Demonstrate professional relationships with physician supervisors and other health care providers.
  6. Recognize accountability to patients, society, and the profession.

Practice-based Learning & Improvement

  1. Possess skills for lifelong learning with appropriate use of medical resources.
  2. Possess knowledge and skills essential to incorporating into practice proven evaluation/treatment modalities, preventions and interventions, and compliance techniques.
  3. Use process improvement strategies to increase the effectiveness of interprofessional teamwork and team-based care.

Systems-based Practice

  1. Effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems.
  2. Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities.
  3. Apply leadership practices that support collaborative practice and team effectiveness.

Clinical Competencies

Prior to progressing to the clinical learning year of the program, students will develop and demonstrate proficiency in several psychomotor skill sets involved in procedural medicine, such as suturing, casting and splinting, nasogastric and endotracheal intubation, and sterile technique. The clinical phase of the program is designed to reinforce knowledge and skills developed during the didactic phase. Eight clinical learning rotations, each six weeks in length, are conducted at a variety of outpatient and inpatient clinical sites. Students are expected to develop competency in those areas listed above. During this period, students will be exposed to a wide variety of live patient encounters to assist them in the building of understanding in the diagnoses, pathophysiology, risk factors, laboratory interpretation, and therapeutic strategies involved in patient evaluation and treatment.

Programmatic Accreditation

The goals and objectives of the South College Master of Health Science Physician Assistant program are guided by the criteria set forth in the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Physician Assistant as established by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA)

These guidelines state that the Physician Assistant is academically and clinically prepared to provide health care services with the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. The role of the Physician Assistant demands intelligence, sound judgment, intellectual honesty, appropriate interpersonal skills, and the capacity to react to emergencies in a calm and reasoned manner. An attitude of respect for self and others, adherence to the concepts of privilege and confidentiality in communicating with patients, and a commitment to the patient’s welfare are essential attributes.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the South College Master of Health Science Physician Assistant Program sponsored by South College, Nashville Campus. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

All students completing study in an accredited program are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and for obtaining a state license. Certification is required in order to practice as a Physician Assistant. The need for licensure is dependent upon each state’s requirements.

PAs must be licensed by the state in which they intend to practice before seeing patients.  State laws and regulations for Physician Assistants vary from state to state.  Statutory and regulatory requirements for initial licensure and license renewal for each state can also be found via this link - https://www.aapa.org/download/19739/. Graduation from an ARC-PA accredited program meets initial licensure requirements for all states (not required currently by Minnesota) and the passing of the PANCE national certification exam is required.  Another resource is https://www.nccpa.net/become-certified. The South College Nashville PA program is ARC-PA accredited and we work diligently with all students in preparation for the PANCE.

Program Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree (Science, Nursing, Health Science recommended) from a regionally accredited College or University in the United States, prior to matriculation.
  2. Documentation of the following - Overall college cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, completion of all prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75, and completion of all science prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75.
  3. Applicants are encouraged to obtain patient care experience, sufficient to recognize the physical and psychological demands of dealing with patients and to appreciate the challenges and rewards of being a health care professional. Health care experiences should provide the applicant with a knowledge and/or orientation to the signs and symptoms of a variety of ill or injured patients. Health care experiences will be evaluated on an individual basis, with an emphasis on direct patient care.
  4. In order for your application to be processed, we must receive the following items:
    • Verified CASPA application that includes:
    • Official GRE Scores (see #5 for more details),
    • 3 letters of recommendation, one from a health care professional such as a Physician (MD or DO), Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner,
    • Completion of the PA Supplemental Application and fee (see admission application for details and a link)
  5. Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The South College, Nashville Campus school code for the School of Physician Assistant Studies is 4148. Please note that until your GRE score is marked as official in CASPA, the score is not acknowledged. MCAT scores are not accepted as a substitution.
  6. All students are required to have Current Basic Life Support (BLS) from the American Heart Association. South

College will provide this training during orientation or during 1st quarter classes. Most clinical sites do not recognize other institutions. No substitutions are allowed.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs (minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • General Chemistry I and II with labs (minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • Biology I and II (Mammalian, Cell, or Human Biology; minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • English (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  • Statistics, Algebra, Calculus, Finite Math, or other equivalent Advanced Mathematics (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  • Humanities and/or Social Science (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)

Strongly suggested courses include: Genetics, microbiology, immunology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and other advanced biology or chemistry courses.

Selection for the Physician Assistant Program is very competitive. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will generally exceed the minimum criteria for consideration for admission.

Applications are reviewed relative to undergraduate cumulative and pre-requisite course GPAs, health care experience (military or civilian), letters of reference, and GRE scores. Additional consideration is given to applicants with military medical experience. Personal interviews with the principal Physician Assistant faculty, practicing Physicians, and Physician Assistants from the community is required for final admission and offered only to the most qualified individuals.

Transfer of Credit

Applicants to the program should be aware that all courses within the professional didactic and clinical curriculum are required. The Master of Health Science Physician Assistant program at South College does not recognize credit for experiential learning, international medical experience, or transfer credits from another Physician Assistant Program or Medical School.

VET-UP Program

The South College VET-UP program is specifically designed to offer veterans who were medics and corpsmen in the United States Armed Forces the opportunity to continue their professional education with the goal of becoming a Physician Assistant. The program focuses on adding to the extensive military training and real-world experience these veterans have by bridging the gap between military health care experience and the civilian graduate medical education of a Physician Assistant program. The program offers mentorship, advice, and partnering with a veteran faculty member. Contact the School of Physician Assistant Studies for more information.

Technical Standards

The granting of a Master of Health Science (MHS) degree and completion of the professional phase signifies that the student is prepared for employment as a Physician Assistant. In such a professional role, the Physician Assistant can provide medical services with the supervision of a doctor of medicine or osteopathic medicine in accordance with applicable laws of medical practice. The services must, for the safety and welfare of the patient, be of the same professional quality that would be rendered by the supervising physician.

The Physician Assistant must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Candidates for the Physician Assistant profession must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing. A candidate’s diagnostic skills will also be lessened without the functional use of the senses of equilibrium, smell and taste. Additionally, they must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, and temperature), and sufficient motor function to permit them to carry out the activities described in the sections that follow.

Candidates must be able to integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, consistently, quickly, and accurately, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data. A candidate for the Physician Assistant profession must have abilities and skills of six varieties including observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative and quantitative, and behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in certain of these areas, but such a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

General Abilities

The candidate is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement. Furthermore, he or she must have the physical and emotional stamina and capacity to function in a competent manner, and consistent with these standards, in the classroom as well clinical and laboratory settings including settings that may involve heavy full-time workloads, long hours, and stressful situations.

Observational Ability

The candidate is expected to participate in and observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including but not limited to physiologic and pharmacological demonstrations in animals, microbiological cultures, and microscopic study of organisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. The candidate is expected to observe the patient accurately at a distance and close at hand and accurately assess health/illness alteration. Inherent in this observation process is the use of the senses and sufficient motor capability to carry out the necessary assessment activities.

Communication Ability

The candidate is expected to be able to effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and postures and to perceive nonverbal communications. This requires the ability to read, write, and effectively utilize the English language. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively with patients and other professionals both orally and in written form.

Motor Ability

The candidate is expected to be able to perform gross and fine motor movements required to perform a complete physical examination (including genital examination). The candidate is expected to have the psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, managing of equipment, and emergency intervention. The candidate is expected to be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium, and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical experiences.

The candidate should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. The candidate must be able to perform laboratory tests, work with scientific and other instruments and machinery, and perform essential skills and emergent treatment to patients. This is includes, but is not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch, vision, and hearing.

Critical Thinking Ability

The candidate is expected to have the ability to develop and refine problem-solving skills. This includes the ability to measure, calculate, analyze and synthesize objective as well as subjective data and make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and clinical judgment. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Interpersonal Abilities

The candidate is expected to have the emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment and complete assessment and intervention activities. The candidate is expected to establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds. The candidate is expected to have the flexibility to function effectively under stress. Concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. The candidate must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The candidate must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and education process.

In addition to the abilities and skills set forth above, the candidate must possess the general physical health necessary for performing the duties of a physician assistant student without endangering the lives of patients and/or colleagues with whom the student might have contact. Candidates whose performance is impaired by abuse of alcohol or other substances are not suitable for admission, continuation, promotion, or graduation.

Students with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. However, it is the responsibility of the candidate to notify South College in writing with medical documentation from their provider, (Director of Student Success, South College, 616 Marriott Drive, Nashville, TN 37214) and verbally if there is any reason why the abilities and/or expectations described cannot be met. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. However, it is the responsibility of the candidate to notify South College if there is any reason why the abilities and/or expectations described cannot be met. Candidates will be presented with these technical standards during the final stage of admission to the program. At that time, the candidate will review these standards with the program faculty and sign a form indicating his/her ability to meet the standards. Candidates who indicate that they cannot meet one or more of these requirements, will be referred to the Director of Student Success to determine what, if any reasonable accommodations might be possible to facilitate successful completion of the degree requirements, if admitted to the program. Candidates with further questions or concerns regarding these technical standards should contact the Physician Assistant Program at 629-802-3000. Candidates with questions about Disability Services should contact the Director of Student Success at 629-802-3050.

Accommodations

Students requesting special services (including accommodations for disabilities) from the college should contact the Director of Student Success (629-802-3050) for complete information on college policy and procedures. All special requests should be made at least one month prior to the beginning of classes in order to allow time for the request to be evaluated appropriately. South College does not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are becoming mandatory at medical institutions as a requirement of The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). In order to ensure patient safety and security, South College will require students to go through a criminal background check prior to being admitted. Applicants should be aware that a prior criminal background might restrict the ability to obtain professional state licensure. Acceptance into a South College program does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain such licensure.

Student Employment

The PA faculty believes that no student is capable of acquiring the level of knowledge needed to perform adequately as a Physician Assistant student if they engage in outside employment during the PA Program. Students are apprised of this policy during the interview process and are reminded that they must not engage in outside employment during the PA curriculum. Full-time employment while in the didactic and/or clinical learning year of the program is prohibited. At no time is a student to be substituted for a faculty member or clinician. Students are not to be employed while on their clinical learning rotations by preceptors or health care facilities. Students may not serve or perform as staff members of the program unless they are part of a specific federal, state, or South College work-study program. Work study students are not permitted to have access to confidential student records or student information and/or testing materials.

Students who have other valid professional licenses/titles such as Ph.D., Respiratory Therapist, Licensed Practical or Registered Nurse, or Laboratory Technician, may not function in those capacities nor utilize these titles in spoken or written communication while enrolled in the Physician Assistant program. Students shall not misrepresent their status as students by identifying themselves as anything other than a Physician Assistant Student, nor shall they allow their patients to identify them as a graduate Physician Assistant or Physician.

Health Insurance

All PA students are required to carry health insurance (including hospitalization) throughout the entire program. It is the responsibility of the student to purchase health insurance and provide proof of insurance. Health concerns should be addressed with your primary care provider. South College does not have student health facilities. Students enrolled at the Nashville Campus may seek medical care at Neighborhood Health which offers low cost health services in Davidson, Wilson, and Trousdale counties, including discounted services for those without health insurance. Please see Department of Student Services personnel for additional information. Students are financially responsible for any services rendered by Neighborhood Health. Once matriculated into the Physician Assistant Program, students must show compliance with the health policy including personal health insurance coverage within one month of the start of classes. Failure to do so may result in being liable for dismissal from the program. Students must re-certify their health status (including proof of health insurance) prior to beginning the clinical phase of the program. Students may not engage in clinical activities until compliance has been met.

Volunteer Work Experiences

Students who are involved in, or commence, volunteer or paid work during the course of their Physician Assistant training, cannot use their affiliation with the Physician Assistant Program in any aspect of that job. Work outside the Physician Assistant Program undertaken by the student, independent of the Program, is not covered by the liability offered for clinical work associated with the educational experience.

Immunizations

Prior to entering the South College Physician Assistant Program, students must submit health provider proof of a health examination and updated information of immunization health certificate indicating TB testing results and HBV immunization series.

Specific Related Requirements Include:

  1. Provide proof of personal health insurance throughout the entire program;
  2. Provide proof of current BLS certification;
  3. Provide proof of a satisfactory physical examination (also prior to clinical year);
  4. Provide proof of TB Skin Test (positive results will require the student to receive a chest x-ray and further evaluation);
  5. Provide proof of Hepatitis B vaccine and positive Hep B Ab;
  6. Provide proof of MMR vaccine or immunity; and,
  7. Provide proof of Varicella titer or vaccination.

Prior to Entering the Clinical Phase of the Program, Students Must Again Update Their Immunization and Health Certificate and Provide Proof of the Following:

  1. Provide proof of current BLS certification;
  2. Provide proof of updated annual TB PPD or tine test;
  3. Provide proof of blood-borne pathogen orientation course; and
  4. Provide proof of current personal health insurance, throughout the clinical year.

For more information about immunization of Health Care Workers go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.

Estimated Program Costs Nashville (Effective October 2022)a

Tuition ($12,250 per quarter) x 2.25 yrs (9 quarters) = $ 110,250 
Technology fee (9 quarters) = $ 2,655
Professional uniforms = $ 200
Textbooks (didactic and clinical years) = $ 2,300
Medical equipment = $ 1,500 b
Smartphone = $ 199 c
Laptop = $ 800
AAPA student membership (for 3 years) = $ 75
TAPA student membership (for 3 years) = $ 150
Background Checks and Drug Screening = $ 200 d
Housing costs for clinical year rotations = $ 3,000 e
Health insurance to cover immunization, coverage for needle sticks and physical examinations = $ 1,000 f
Clinical tracking expenses = $ 100 g
Transcript Fee = $ 10
Graduation Fee = $ 300
Total Estimated Cost for entire Master of Health Science Program = $ 122,739a

a These are estimated costs for the entire program. Tuition, fees, and costs are subject to change. Tuition for in-state and out-of- state residents is the same.
b Medical Supply costs are dependent on personal selection of equipment; students will have the opportunity to purchase equipment during the orientation at South College.
c There are additional costs, which vary according to personal choice, for a required service plan.
d Approximate cost required for credentialing. Typically done one per year, however, rotation sites may require additional checks or screens.
e Housing costs are based on clinical sites that are over 50 miles from Knoxville.
f Students are required to have their own health insurance prior to entering the program; many plans offer this service. Costs will vary according to plan.
g The program uses the Typhon system of tracking, which offers the student a permanent record of procedures and patient encounters during the clinical year.

Academic Calendar

The Physician Assistant Program academic calendar may vary from the institutional calendar due to experiential requirements for the program. Information will be provided to Physician Assistant students both in-person and via the institutional website.

Evaluation of Professional Conduct

In concert with the core competencies for the Physician Assistant profession, the faculty of the Master of Health Science Physician Assistant Program at South College has established standards for evaluating the professional conduct of all students. This evaluation of professional conduct is in direct compliance with the core competency of professionalism that will be required of practicing Physician Assistants in their daily clinical life. At the end of every quarter, the core faculty will conduct a professional review of students.

Professional conduct evaluations will include the components of the Physician Assistant Program Honor Code and the following considerations:

  1. Concern for the welfare of patients as evidenced by: thoughtful and professional attitude in obtaining history and physical examinations; avoidance of foul language, offensive gestures, inappropriate remarks, or remarks with sexual overtones; treatment of patients with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with peers; manifestation of concern for the total patient.
  2. Concern for the rights of others, shown by: treating professional and staff personnel, peer members of the Physician Assistant class, and health care team in a considerate manner and with a spirit of cooperation; acting with an egalitarian spirit towards all persons encountered in a classroom setting or a professional capacity regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability; and assuming an appropriate and equitable concern of duties among peers.
  3. Responsibility to duty which involves: effectively undertaking duties with alacrity and persevering until complete or notifying responsible persons of problems; punctual attendance of classes, rounds, conferences and other clinical duties, or offering appropriate explanation when unable to be present; notifying course directors and supervising clinical preceptors of absence or inability to carry out duties; seeing patients regularly, assuming responsibility for their care with appropriate supervision; identifying emergencies and responding appropriately; and ensuring that he/she can be located when on duty by faculty or staff personnel.
  4. Trustworthiness, that is: being truthful and intellectually honest in communication with others; acceptance of responsibility for meeting multiple demands by establishing proper priorities and by completing work necessary for the optimal care of patients; discerning accurately when supervision or advice is needed before acting; and maintaining confidentiality of information concerning patients.
  5. Professional demeanor, which means: a neat and clean appearance in attire that appears professional to the patient population; maintaining equilibrium under pressures of fatigue, professional stress, or personal problems; and refraining from the use of alcohol or drugs while on campus, during clinical rotations, or during any South College meeting or activity.

The results of this review will be shared with and signed by each student; any student requiring additional counseling or professional development will meet with both his/her academic advisor and the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education. If a student receives an unsatisfactory evaluation regarding professional conduct, written notification to the student by the faculty is required together with written documentation of the events leading to the unsatisfactory evaluation. This notification will also be forwarded to the Student Progress Committee, which consists of the principal PA faculty, and to the Program Director. If the documented event involves a severe offense, the student may be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Program regardless of previous academic record. If a student receives an unsatisfactory evaluation of professional conduct, or a violation of the Honor Code, the student may be issued a letter of warning, be placed on professional probation, or depending on the violation, be dismissed from the program. Recommendations for dismissal will be made to the Student Progress Committee. A dismissal decision of the Student Progress Committee may be appealed to the Associate Dean/Program Director. The decision of the Program Director may be appealed to the Dean of Academic and Student Services and then to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness of South College. The Vice Chancellor reserves the right to refer any appeal to the South College Academic and Conduct Appeals Committee. All appeals must be made within five business days of notification of a decision. The decision of the Vice Chancellor or the South College Appeals Committee is final and not subject to further appeal. Students with a final dismissal from the School of Physician Assistant Studies may reapply for admission through the regular admissions process.

Alcohol, Drugs, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Hazing, and Discrimination

Policies regarding alcohol, drugs, sexual harassment, sexual assault, hazing, and discrimination can be found in the South College Student Handbook. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, color, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation is not tolerated. The use of drugs or alcohol while in the PA program is prohibited. There is zero tolerance for violence, drug or alcohol use, sexual harassment, or hazing at any time during the program, including while on campus, at PA program events in the community, and/or during clinical rotations.

Requirements for Graduation from the Physician Assistant Program

The following criteria must be met in order to qualify for graduation with the Master of Health Science degree, and a certificate of completion from the South College Physician Assistant Studies Program. Successful candidates for graduation must:

  1. Satisfactorily complete all courses within the didactic and clinical learning phases of the Physician Assistant program with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0;
  2. Achieve a minimum grade of 70% in all didactic courses and clinical rotations;
  3. Successfully complete the Capstone Research Project, Didactic Summative Evaluation, and Clinical Summative Review with a minimum grade of 80%;
  4. Successfully complete the ACLS and PALS courses;
  5. Maintain BLS certification throughout the program;
  6. Complete 50 hours of program-approved community service;
  7. Abide by all South College rules and regulations, and settle all financial accounts with South College prior to graduation; and.

Abide by professional conduct as defined by Physician Assistant Program Honor Code.

Program faculty make the final decision regarding the graduation of each of the Program’s students. Thus, if a student is determined by the faculty to be unprepared for clinical practice, he or she will not be recommended for graduation, regardless of mathematical calculation of grades and/or GPA.

Each candidate for the Master of Health Science degree must be free of indebtedness to the college. The graduate degree and the academic transcript or certification of completion will not be given until all financial obligations to South College have been met.

The program completion date is the same as the program graduation date each year. All above graduation requirements must be finalized by the end of business on the day before graduation. Graduation occurs following the clinical learning year in mid-December on the following dates:

December 18, 2021 December 17, 2022

Graduation dates are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.

Matriculation and attendance at the college are privileges granted to the student in consideration of performance of specified assignments and the maintenance of established standards of personal and professional conduct. The college reserves the right, and the student, by the act of matriculation, concedes to the college the right to require withdrawal at any time the college deems it necessary to safeguard the standards of scholarship, conduct, and compliance with regulations, or for such other reasons deemed appropriate by the college as set forth in the program manual and/or the South College Catalog.

Academic Standards, Student Progress, Grading

The Student Progress Committee will review each student’s scholastic achievement record, clinical learning progress, and professional behavior at the end of each quarter. The academic and clinical standards that must be met by each student are outlined in the Requirements for Graduation from the Physician Assistant Program section. The professional standards that must be met by each student are also outlined in the Evaluation of Professional Conduct section. The evaluation process by this Committee includes first a review by each Course Director or Clinical Preceptor, then review by the Faculty Advisor, then review by the Director of Academic or Clinical Services, and finally by the Program Director. The findings of these reviews are then presented to the Committee by the Director of Academic or Clinical Services. If a student fails to meet academic, clinical, and/or professional standards, the Committee will meet with the student in question.

Depending on the nature of the academic, clinical, and/or professional deficiency, the Committee will determine the status of the student’s academic/clinical standing, which may include warning, probation, or dismissal from the program.

The Categories of Academic/Clinical Standing are:

Good Standing: Status of a student who has met course and clinical requirements in a satisfactory manner and has demonstrated good professional behavior.

Warning: Status of a student whose performance in an academic course or clinical rotation places him/her in jeopardy of falling below the minimum stated standards, or who has exhibited questionable professional behavior.

Probation: Status of a student whose performance in the program has fallen below the minimum stated standards, or who has exhibited unacceptable professional behavior.

Dismissal: Action whereby a student will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program of South College due to failure to adhere to academic, clinical, and/or professional standards. Dismissal will occur after review of the student’s academic and/or professional deficiency by the Student Progress Committee, the Program Director, and following approval by the South College Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness.

The causes of and consequences for receiving a Warning, Probation, or Dismissal are:

Warning

A student who receives a grade of less than 70% on any quiz, exam, or other individual assessment tool (or who fails any pass/fail exercise) in a didactic course or clinical rotation will receive a warning and must meet with the Course Director (didactic or clinical) for remediation. No remediation will be offered for final exams or final projects. A student may also receive a warning for questionable professional behavior.

Warning in a Didactic Course. The Course Director and student will review the questions and answers that the student missed on the exam or other assessment tool. The Course Director will ensure that the student understands the material and will make recommendations to the student for satisfactory performance on future exams/assessments. The student and Course Director will fill out the Record of Remediation form. Acquisition of knowledge will be measured by student performance on the cumulative portion of the course midterm and/or final exam. Copies of the Record of Remediation form will be made for the Course Director, the Director of Academic Curriculum, the student’s faculty advisor, and the student’s file.

Warning in a Clinical Rotation. If a student scores below 70% on a graded activity during the Clinical year, the student and Course Director will fill out the Record of Remediation form. The Course Director will provide the student with a list of topics that were missed on the exam or other assessment tool. The student will be issued a remediation plan and a deadline for completion of his/her plan. After the remediation plan has been completed, the student will be re-examined based upon the nature of his/her deficiency. On re-examination, the student is expected to achieve a minimum grade of 80%. Failure to adhere to deadlines and/or failure to achieve a minimum grade of 80% will result in referral to the Student Progress Committee. Copies of the Record of Remediation form and any correspondence will be made for the Course Director, the Director of Clinical Education, the Director of Academic Curriculum, the student’s faculty advisor, and the student’s file.

Warning for a Professional Behavior Issue. A student with a professional behavior issue will meet with the Student Progress Committee. If the committee determines that the student exhibited questionable professional behavior, the student will be warned that additional behavior could lead to probation or dismissal, depending on the nature of the behavior.

Probation

A student will be placed on Probation if: (1) his/her cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or (2) he/she fails to exhibit appropriate professional behavior.

  • Students with a Cumulative GPA Below 3.0. A student with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 at the end of any didactic quarter or clinical rotation will receive notification from the Student Progress Committee that he/she is on Probation. If the student fails to raise his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or higher at the end of the next didactic quarter or clinical rotation, he/she will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program. If the student raises his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or higher at the end of the next didactic quarter or clinical rotation, he/she will be removed from probation. If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 a second time, he/she will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program.
  • Students Cited for a Professional Behavior Issue. A student who fails to exhibit appropriate professional behavior must meet with the Student Progress Committee to define a plan for remediation. The student and the Chair of the Student Progress Committee must sign the remediation plan. If the student fails to fulfill or achieve the minimum outcomes described in his/her remediation plan, he/she will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program. If the student fulfills the outcomes described in his/her remediation plan, he/she will be removed from probation.

Dismissal

Students will be dismissed for failure to comply with academic, clinical, or professional standards. Students will be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies Program when:

  • A student fails (grade below a 70%) any didactic course or clinical rotation;
  • A student has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 at the end of any didactic quarter or clinical rotation and then fails to raise his/her cumulative GPA to or higher at the end of the next didactic quarter or clinical rotation;
  • A student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 for a second time (at the end of a didactic quarter or clinical rotation);
  • A student fails to achieve the plans and outcomes listed in a remediation worksheet;
  • A student fails to successfully complete the Capstone research project, Didactic Summative review, and Clinical Summative Review, with a minimum grade of 80%;
  • A student’s professional conduct violates the performance standards set forth in the Physician Assistant Studies Program’s Honor Code, the South College Student Code of Conduct, state or federal law, or for moral turpitude, unprofessional behavior, criminal activity, or other reasons as defined by the College;
  • South College reserves the right to dismiss at any time a student who, in its judgment, is undesirable and whose continued enrollment is detrimental to him/herself or his/her fellow students or whose presence is disruptive to the learning environment or the orderly operation of the College.

A dismissal decision of the Student Progress Committee may be appealed to the Program Director. The decision of the Program Director may be appealed to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness of South College. The Vice Chancellor reserves the right to refer any appeal to the South College Academic and Conduct Appeals Committee. The decision of the Vice Chancellor or the South College Appeals Committee may be appealed to the Chancellor. Please see the South College Student Handbook for information appealing to the Chancellor.

Grading

Course Directors (in concert with the Course Instructors and Clinical Preceptors) will determine the means by which the final grade will be computed, which may include exam scores, oral presentations, written assignments, laboratory exercises, practical examinations, class participation, clinical participation, clinical performance, and other means of evaluation. Except in the case of an error on the part of faculty, preceptors, or administration, no grade changes will be honored after the end of the course. All didactic courses and clinical rotations will be graded with a letter grade of A, B, C, or F. All didactic courses and clinical rotations will be assigned appropriate credit hours. One credit hour is equal to approximately 10 hours of lecture, small group conference, and required practice per quarter. One credit hour of laboratory sessions is equal to approximately 20 contact hours per quarter. One credit hour of clinical is equal to approximately 30 contact hours per clinical rotation. Course Directors also determine grade adjustments for the purpose of standardization with the A-F scale. Where objective testing is used, scores and grades will be correlated as follows:

Letter Grade Q.P. Percent Score Range  
A 4.00 90-100%  
B 3.00 80-89%  
C 2.00 70-79%  
F 0.00 0-69%  

Students enrolled in the Master of Health Science, Physician Assistant Program at South College must successfully complete all didactic courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in order to proceed to the clinical learning phase of the program. In addition, in order to graduate and be awarded a Master of Health Science degree, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of the clinical learning phase. Successful completion of the program is defined as having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for the entire program.

Attendance and Testing

The Physician Assistant curriculum requires students to master a large amount of information and skills in a very short period of time. Excused absences must be obtained from the course director or co-course director, in an email on which the student’s advisor and the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education for didactic and clinical students respectively is included. The Physician Assistant program utilizes the following attendance and testing policies:

Attendance:

  • Attendance for all scheduled lectures, laboratory sessions, and student meetings is mandatory for didactic students.
  • Call Back Clinical Learning Days are mandatory for all clinical learning students.
  • While the program makes every effort to schedule classes and rotations on weekdays, students may be required to attend classes and/or clinical rotations on Saturday and Sunday. Participation is mandatory.
  • Didactic courses and Call Back Clinical Learning Days may utilize an attendance and grade reduction policy that may result in a failing course grade (F) for unexcused absences. Course Directors will outline and discuss their attendance and grade reduction policies in their course syllabi.
  • Time missed for a medical appointment must be documented with a dated, signed note from the medical provider.
  • Students with unexcused absences will be brought before the Student Progress Committee.

Testing:

  • Absence will typically be defined as being 15 or more minutes late for a scheduled class or laboratory session.
  • Instructors may offer “make-up exams” in the event of an “Excused Absence” with the permission of the Director of Academic Curriculum, within a reasonable period of time.
  • Make-up exams will not be given in the case of an “Unexcused Absence.”
  • Students who are late for a scheduled exam will not be allowed additional time to complete the exam and will not be allowed to enter the classroom and initiate the exam if another student has already completed the exam and left the room.

Course Syllabi and Objectives

For every course and clinical learning rotation, students will be provided with a complete syllabus, which includes specific, measurable, course goals and learning objectives, outlining the intended scope of the course. Course descriptions and course schedules will also be included. Students are expected to learn all information identified in the course goals and learning objectives and should expect to be tested on such material.

Each instructor, in concert with the Course Director, reserves the right to alter the syllabus as time, teaching materials, new clinical and scientific information, or the necessity of a sequenced, integrated, Physician Assistant curriculum dictate. Any altered materials will be made available to the student at lecture time. If there are questions regarding course goals, course objectives, learning objectives, or expected course outcomes, the student is expected to direct his/her questions first to the Course Instructor, then the Course Director, and if needed to the Director of Academic Curriculum.

Programs

    Master of Health Science