The didactic phase of the PA curriculum provides the foundation for clinical practice with instruction in applied medical sciences, patient assessment, clinical medicine and pharmacotherapeutics. The curriculum is organized into systems-based modules which incorporate anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, clinical skills, patient assessment, diagnostic testing and pharmacotherapeutics and is taught in an organized and integrated sequence with a strong emphasis on critical thinking and active learning. Other courses include medical ethics, PA professional practice issues, population health and evidence-based practice. In addition, students learn procedures including: sterile technique, venipuncture, IV placement, injections, airway management and endotracheal intubation, point of care ultrasound, urinary bladder catheter insertion, casting and splinting, local anesthesia and wound management and closure. Students also participate in interprofessional education courses and will experience supervised and simulated patient interactions. Integration of the curriculum facilitates the development of knowledge that is relevant and meaningful to clinical practice and which is amendable to updating and development as a part of an ongoing process of lifelong learning. Students must successfully pass all first phase didactic academic requirements in order to progress to the second phase clinical rotation training.
The didactic Clinical Medicine modules include:
- Advanced study of human anatomy with 3-D human anatomy laboratories.
- Advanced study of physiology, pathology and pathophysiology concepts of disease.
- Study of the epidemiology and etiology of disease states.
- Eliciting, performing and documenting the medical history and physical exam.
- Selecting, interpreting and applying appropriate laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests.
- Advanced study of disease states including the development of a differential diagnosis, most likely diagnosis and prognosis of disease.
- Developing patient management skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to prescription and nonprescription therapeutic agents.
- Study of the behavioral health aspects of wellness and disease.
- Study of preventive health care, patient-centered healthcare, patient-centered education and health maintenance.
- Study of the clinical presentation of disease states across the life span.
- Identification and treatment of clinical emergencies.
- Study of current evidence-based healthcare principles.
The didactic foundation courses include the basic medical sciences, principles of genetics, and immunology. The courses are designed to prepare students for the advanced study of clinical medicine.
The didactic interprofessional education courses are collaborative courses that instruct students across the colleges about the principles of interprofessional practice and allow students to practice interprofessional teamwork and communication skills in a classroom and small group setting.
The didactic professional courses are designed to provide students with instruction in evidence-based practice to include critical review of the medical literature; advanced study of the PA profession, medical ethics, public and population health, and employment issues.