JMU Physician Assistant Program

A PA is a physician’s assistant or a licensed
mid level practitioner. Our mission statement has to do with training
students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to become physician assistants, primarily
in primary care, that will serve the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond, especially medically underserved communities. One of the strong points of our PA program
is that we’re a smaller program, we have a small cohort, and yet we’re at a fairly large
university. Students have a lot of access to faculty, and get a lot of one on one attention
that allows us to get a more of a personal touch with classes and with our clinical rotations.
So there’s six physician assistants or physicians that follow us throughout the entire two years.
We have very close relationships with them. We can go to them for anything, whether its
school related, personal problems, they’re really there for us because we are such a
small group. Having their support and having their investment
and feeling that everyday is really important and probably my favorite part of JMU’s program.
Seeing them take the information that we’re learning about in class or teaching it, and
applying it into a clinical setting and see that light bulb go off when they’re like “Oh
my goodness, what we just learned actually translates into what we’re going to see in
practice in the real world.” I think making that connection between the things that are
taught in the didactic sphere and what they’re actually going to see is amazing and I love
watching students make that connection. The program teaches you how to think critically,
they don’t spoon feed you, so you have to learn to go out and find your own information
which is very important for the medical career because we are always learning, we’re never
done. They really show you how to learn, how to teach yourself, they give you confidence.
They really push you to be your best and it really helps in the long run. Something that stands out about our program is the pass rate for the certifying exam,
the PANTs exam, we have over the past five years have a 98% first time taker pass rate,
which I think is exemplary. And I think goes back into how much preparation and education
that we do with the students ahead of time. So I think that it’s just that intensity and
that drive that allows them to succeed. It is a tried and true program and that we do
graduate qualified PAs.

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