College of Health and Human Services2021-2022

Department of Physician Assistant Studies

Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine in a healthcare team. PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training, and are trained in intensive education programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA).
As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and in virtually all states can write prescriptions.  Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.  A PA’s practice may also include education, research, and administrative services.
NAU has a long history of quality Health Science education with up-to-date technology, simulation center and inter-professional learning environment, and in supervised clinical experiences throughout Arizona
Our program is based on the philosophy that PAs can make a difference providing healthcare in underserved and rural areas of Arizona. During the clinical year, students will be educated in community health clinics, Indian health service facilities, and other community-based institutions. Students are encouraged to apply to become National Health Service Corps scholars. The program will work with the state’s 5 Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and the Arizona Alliance of Community Health Centers (AACHC) to identify rural healthcare sites for additional learning experiences.

Student Learning Outcomes 

  • Obtain and record a complete and accurate medical history from any patient in any setting.
  • Perform a complete or problem-focused physical examination on any patient in any setting.
  • Interpret and synthesize the information derived from the history, physical examination and other patient related data to guide the formulation of a thorough differential diagnosis
  • Order, perform and interpret appropriate diagnostic procedures and laboratory tests based upon the findings from the medical history and physical examination.
  • Identify, discuss, perform, and order appropriate therapy and treatment modalities for the management of commonly occurring primary care entities.
  • Recognize life threatening conditions.
  • Clearly and effectively communicate with patients, their families, and other medical personnel in a professional manner
  • Demonstrate the impact that health problems have on the individual and family members and will develop an attitude of professional concern for each patient.
  • Utilize critical thinking skills through the use of evidence-based medicine.
  • Articulate the unique role of the physician assistant in the medical team.
  • Possess a working knowledge of the American health care delivery system.
  • Exhibit ethical behavior and professional conduct.
See the full list of Student Learning Outcomes


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