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Preparing Students for Health Care Careers of Tomorrow

07.25.2014

Physician Assistant StudiesHigh Point University goes beyond preparing students for the world as it is; the university prepares students for the world as it is going to be. To meet an increasing demand for health care providers around the world, HPU is developing a graduate program in Physician Assistant Studies that will prepare graduates to fill the expanding demand for health care practitioners.

HPU’s School of Health Sciences, which already houses undergraduate programs in exercise science and athletic training, will launch a new Physician Assistant Studies program in 2015. The program will equip graduates to work in a field that is projected to grow by almost 40 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Physician Assistant StudiesThe Department of Physician Assistant Studies is located in a new space in High Point, next to the Department of Physical Therapy (preparing to launch a doctoral program in the near future) and its Human Biomechanics and Physiology Lab. The two departments will move to the $80 million, state-of-the-art Health Sciences building once it’s completed in 2017.

The PA department has two Medical Simulation Labs featuring leading edge technology and four high-fidelity wireless mannequins, including one that will give birth to a simulated baby. Stan, a male mannequin who lists Grey’s Anatomy among his acting credits, can talk, bleed, cry, convulse and respond physiologically to over 68 intravenous and inhaled medications. Faculty in an adjacent control room can alter Stan’s physical responses to students’ actions, simulating increased heart rate, change in temperature, allergic reactions and much more.

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Dr. Linda Sekhon, founding chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, says that incorporating Stan into the classroom allows students to practice providing clinical care to a patient, without the risk of working on an actual human.

“PA students need to learn in an environment where they can develop the metacognitive skills required to practice medicine,” says Sekhon. “This type of medical simulation prepares our graduates for careers that are not only lucrative, but impactful and crucial to society.”

In addition to the Medical Simulation Labs, the department also includes three patient examination rooms for working with live patients, rooms to facilitate problem-based learning, and a clinical skills lab for demonstration and practice of medical techniques.

While Sekhon says it rivals top PA spaces around the country, the outstanding facility isn’t the only noteworthy characteristic of the PA program; the faculty members are also committed to working closely with students to ensure their success. Hailing from prestigious PA programs at Duquesne University, the University of New Mexico, Indiana University and others, High Point University PA faculty have been recognized for their excellence in teaching as well as their expertise in health care. Together, they bring more than 100 years of health care provider experience in medical specialties such as rheumatology, pediatrics, orthopedics, urology, family medicine and more.

View a news story by Time Warner Cable on the PA program below:

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