Natural Sciences

Physician Assistant (pending Accreditation – Provisional)

Bachelor of Arts in Biology
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies 

MSMC has applied for accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The MSMC graduate program in physician assistant studies anticipates matriculating its first graduate class in May 2016, pending the Accreditation - Provisional in September 2015. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards of the Review Commission. 

Physician Assistant program (pending Accreditation – Provisional) at the Mount

In the 3:2 PA program, students participate in a natural sciences undergraduate curriculum for their first three years, and complete their physician assistant studies at the Mount in the last two years. Students graduate with a master of science degree in physician assistant studies at the end of five years. 

Overview

The American Academy of Physician Assistants describes a PA as a healthcare professional who is trained and licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. A PA's license allows one to perform any medical or surgical duties that are delegated to him/her by the physician. This usually involves working as part of a team in the big hospitals or being the only medical care provider in smaller, remote, and inner city clinics.

A physician assistant’s duties include preventing, maintaining, and treating human illness and injury. They provide a broad range of health care services that were traditionally performed by physicians. PA’s routinely conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests. They may also counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, give medical orders, and write prescriptions.

Program Requirements

“The PA Program at Mount Saint Mary College seeks to admit highly qualified and motivated students. Acceptance into the program is competitive and enrolled students must meet prescribed standards to continue in the program.”

Outcome

Upon completing this five-year PA Studies program, students will:

  1. Function as competent, compassionate healthcare providers of medical services to the community;
  2. Critically assess the healthcare needs of a diverse society of patients, and determine the most effective clinical responses to those needs;
  3. Effectively communicate with other healthcare providers and with patients;
  4. Educate patients about healthcare in a supportive and encouraging manner;
  5. Practive collaborative medicine (under the direction of a physician) in an ethical, socially responsible, and professional manner.

Opportunities for Student Involvement

Beta-Beta-Beta (Tri-Beta) is the biological sciences honor society on campus. The Lambda Theta Chapter was the first MSMC honor society, established in 1975. Active membership is open to biology majors who have completed the first semester of their sophomore year and attained a cumulative average of 3.0 or greater in all courses in biology. Associate membership is open to all students interested in the life sciences; students may join as freshmen. There is a one-time fee for this honor which makes one a permanent member of Tri-Beta and includes an honor cord to be worn at graduation. The society is one of many similar chapters at colleges and universities throughout the country and strives to stimulate scholarship, disseminate scientific information, promote biological research, and provide camaraderie. Members participate in field trips, lectures, and a variety of activities throughout the year.

Gamma Sigma Epsilon is the chemistry honor society on campus. Students who have completed 16 credits in chemistry with a B (3.0) average in their chemistry courses are eligible to be inducted into Gamma Sigma Epsilon.

The American Chemical Society's student affiliate group is recognized as an official on-campus club and receives funding for their activities through student government. This student group sponsors trips, talks, community outreach activities, and participation in campus events. There is an annual fee to be an official student member of ACS which includes a weekly chemical news magazine.

Alpha Chi is a national college honor society for full-time juniors and seniors of all disciplines. To be eligible, a student must rank in the highest 10% of the class.

Students may participate in the activities of Tri-Beta, GSE, and the ACS student affiliate group without officially joining any of these organizations, but joining will afford them the benefits of formal recognition of their participation.

Research

Students may pursue undergraduate research as part of their major requirements Student have the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of a member of the faculty. 

Students are also encouraged to apply for admission to summer research programs at MSMC (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, S.U.R.E.) or to other colleges and universities throughout the country. In addition, the Career Center offers students information about co-op/internship opportunities for research experiences during the semester and the summer. This office assists students with resume development, interviewing skills, and completion of applications for various research programs.

Career outlook

The 2008-2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts almost a 40 percent increase in employment for PAs in the next decade. New York State is second only to the state of California in the number of PAs statewide, and the NY Metro area has the highest concentration of PAs nationally. Advisors from the medical community agree that there will be increasing local and regional need and career opportunities for PAs. 

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