The first class of students in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program at Misericordia University received their white coats at a special ceremony held recently in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.
More than 100 family and friends were on hand for the event, which included welcome messages from Scott Massey, Ph. D., PA-C., professor and founding chair and program director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, and Thomas J. Botzman, Ph. D., president of Misericordia University. The 20 students were presented with their coats and recited the pledge of a physician assistant promising to adhere to the core values of honesty, integrity, altruism and empathy of the profession.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) degree at Misericordia University is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. It is an intensive 24-month, year-round program designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and meet other entrance requirements or are enrolled in the Misericordia University Bachelor of Science in Medical Science (BSMS) 3+2 program.
The white coat ceremony signifies the completion of the didactic year of study. The students, members of the inaugural Class of 2014, now move into the clinical phase of their training.
The students will don a longer coat when they graduate and take the Physician Assistant Professional Oath, reminding them to always put the health, safety and privacy of their patients first and at all times be professional.
Freshman students are accepted into the BSMS program at Misericordia each fall in cohorts of 20. To receive the BSMS, students complete a curriculum of 125 to 131 semester hours.
In the upcoming clinical year, this class of students will perform nine five-week clinical clerkships in a variety of professional settings to ensure that they amass a wide range of learning experiences. Working directly with patients under professional supervision, the students will learn to evaluate and treat medical problems in ambulatory medicine, long-term care, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, women ’s health, and emergency medicine.
In a classroom setting, the students will also prepare to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and an objective standardized clinical examination (OSCE) in order to enter the profession.