Curriculum Overview

​​​​​​Our Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) program takes 27 months to complete. The first 15 months of the program is dedicated to the didactic education, along with the participation in a clinical mentorship program. The last 12 months of the program involve students pursuing their clinical clerkship rotations, which offer the students a full range of hands-on experience in general medicine, primary care, and critical care medicine. Clinical clerkships may take place anywhere in the state of Michigan (and occasionally out of state as opportunities present).

Didactic Learning Experiences

For the PA Program's Curriculum map and a list of course descriptions click her​e. Please be advised, while the PA Program at CMU requires specific courses as prerequisites for enrollment, those prerequisites will not "substitute for more advanced applied content within the professional component of the program" (ARC-PA standard B2.01, 2014, p. 16).

Specialty Programs - Clinical Mentorships and the FCCS Course

Central Michigan University's PA Program offers the benefit of a mentorship for all first-year students. Although the program shares the critical requirements and expectations of many MSPA programs, there are two key areas of emphasis which make this program relatively unique.  Specifically, we educate students with a focus in providing and supporting primary and rural healthcare.  This is achieved through the clinical problem solving coursework series with the clinical mentorship experience and the summer II semester procedures course incorporating the Society of Critical Care Medicine's Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) curriculum.

Mentorship

Starting in mid January of the didactic year, each student undertakes a one-day-per-week mentorship for about seven months, in which he or she shadows with a local primary care practitioner and performs supervised hands-on patient care as assigned.  The mentorship opportunity allows for students to apply the knowledge and skills so far learned in a clinical environment, to further enhance their clinical practical skills and build their confidence before pursuing the second year of studies. 

 

Our unique mentorship program allows students to:

  • Develop and improve patient evaluation skills.
  • Practice effective communication skills in establishing a productive provider-patient relationship.
  • Establish a professional student-mentor relationship.
  • Learn about other disciplines of the interprofessional team.
  • Present selected cases to the mentor for review and discussion.
  • Observe administrative activities and aspects of office practices.
  • Build confidence and become comfortable in a clinical setting.

To learn more about the clinical mentorship experience, visit https://www.cmich.edu/colleges/CHP/hp_academics/physician_assistant/clinical_educator_resources/Pages/default.aspx


Critical Care Medicine Review and Certification

The FCCS curriculum is provided in the summer semester just prior to students starting their second year SCPE clerkships.  The FCCS coursework not only provides students the optional opportunity to take the specialty examination for certification in critical care medicine, but more importantly it helps them ready for the second year SCPE clerkships.  The FCCS curriculum is provided in the summer semester just prior to students starting their second year SCPE clerkships.  To learn more about the FCCS review, visit http://www.sccm.org/Fundamentals/Pages/default.asp.x

Clinical Clerkship Experiences

Students spend the last 12 months of the program completing eight core clinical clerkships. Students are required to return to campus at the close of each rotation to complete their end-of-rotation summative evaluations involving a formal examination and case presentation or simulated patient review.


The core clinical clerkships are:

Emergency Medicine

An introduction to triage and stabilization of patients with life threatening conditions and procedures performed in the emergency department. Emphasis is placed on skills required to perform and document a problem oriented history and physical, formulation of a differential diagnosis, order and interpret tests necessary to confirm or rule out a primary diagnosis and provide patients with appropriate patient education. The student will also learn strategies for interacting with patients and/or families in various levels of stress.

Family Medicine (FM I), Pediatrics (FM II), Women's Health (FM III), and Behavioral/Mental Health (FM IV)

A practice of the evaluation, documentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the wide range of problems common in primary care and family medicine. The student will develop profici​ency in office procedures commonly performed in a family medicine office.

General Surgery 

The development the skills necessary to evaluate and manage patients with a variety of surgical problems. The clerkship will provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the role of the surgeon, anesthesiologist, assistant surgeon, circulating nurse, scrub nurse, scrub tech, recovery room, surgery floor nurses, aids, and techs in the care of the surgical patient.

Internal Medicine

The focus is on in-depth evaluation and ongoing treatment of patients with complex problems and/or chronic illness. Students learn the skills necessary to evaluate and manage the effects of chronic disease on multiple body systems and to perform or assist in procedures commonly done in internal medicine.

Elective​

​The elective rotation is designed to reinforce education in an area requiring additional training, enhance clinical education in a specialized area, or to further a student's education in an area of particular interest.

 

[Revised May 2015]