Overview of the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program

The mission of the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program is to educate medical professionals who will provide ethical, high-quality, compassionate medical care, thereby increasing access to health care for the underserved in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the nation.

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) degree program will be 24 months in length with a total of 155 credit hours. The curriculum consists of a 12-month didactic phase (85 credits) and a 12-month clinical phase (64 credits), and culminates with the presentation of a Capstone Project (6 credits). This is a full time course of study and no part time program is offered.

The didactic year curriculum builds a foundation for clinical practice and focuses on biomedical, clinical, and behavioral sciences as well as courses in physical diagnosis and critical thinking. During the first quarter of the didactic year, students may be introduced to clinical settings through clinical observational experiences. In the second quarter, students must begin to think critically and clinically, correlating classroom knowledge to clinical application. In addition to classroom instruction in clinical correlation, during this quarter, students will begin doing histories and physicals on consenting patients.

The final week of the first year is dedicated to summative examinations, both written and practical, as well as preparation for the clinical year. The summative practical exam will use Standardized Patients. These examinations must be completed successfully as a requirement for entry into the clinical year.

The clinical year consists of seven required clinical rotations, one elective clinical rotation, and a Capstone Project. Each rotation is six weeks in length and students return to campus the last 2 days of rotations for end of rotation testing, lectures and debriefing sessions.

During the four months prior to program completion, students will be required to pass an objective structured clinical examination with a Standardized Patient. Failure to successfully complete this examination will result in remediation and retesting. The final two End of Rotation Meetings are spent on a summative written examination, completion of a exit survey, presentation of the Capstone Project, and review for the PANCE.

Prior to graduation, students are required to complete a Capstone Project. The scholarly “Capstone Project” is a formal Grand Rounds type presentation to the Sullivan University community. Beginning in the second quarter of the second year, students begin work with a faculty advisor on a research presentation. Students will finalize their Capstone Projects during the fourth quarter of the second year. The Grand Rounds Presentation is an in-depth presentation of a medical patient case that the student encountered during his/her clinical rotations. It will demonstrate the evidence-based process that led to the final diagnosis, treatment plan, prognosis and patient counseling. The preventive medicine aspects of the disease will also be addressed. This summative evaluation tool will be used to measure cognitive (critical thinking), motor (practical skills), and effective areas (integration of knowledge and skills) at the completion of the program. Students will present the Capstone Projects to the class, Program faculty, and faculty and Administration of the University.

Academic and professional growth is monitored closely by the Program and Medical Directors, the Basic Sciences, Academic, Clinical and Course Coordinators. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor for assistance and counseling regarding academic progress. If a student is having academic difficulty, he/she is counseled and offered an opportunity to make improvements.

Consistent with the goals of Sullivan University, the PA Program is dedicated to providing cutting-edge educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students while instilling the values of teamwork, compassion, excellence, professionalism, integrity and accountability in the next generation of Physician Assistants.