WEST LIBERTY UNIVERSITY MISSION STATEMENT
West Liberty University, established in 1837, was the first institution of higher education in West Virginia. Today, we are a dynamic, inclusive, student-centered community that cultivates scholarly exploration, experiential learning, creative expression, and global citizenship.
WLU is a public university committed to providing students with a comprehensive education from undergraduate to advanced degrees while serving as the region’s leading advocate for the arts, education, research, and economic opportunity.
WLU PA STUDIES PROGRAM
The mission of the WLU PA Studies Program is to deliver exceptional education to PA candidates, preparing them to be integral members of the collaborative healthcare team. Through our commitment to individualized education, we aim to develop compassionate and competent professionals who provide empathetic care to all patient populations, with a particular focus on under-served areas.
Graduates of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies will:
- Be clinically competent primary care physician assistants who practice evidence-based medicine.
- Reflect the highest standards of compassionate, legal, ethical, and moral conduct.
- Be team-oriented, culturally sensitive providers who are dedicated to their communities.
- Encourage improvement in the quality, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of patient care in their community and state.
- Be critical-thinking and effective communicators with both patients and health care professionals.
- Identify the lack of medical care in rural and under-served regions and consider practicing their discipline or providing service in such locations.
- Have an appreciation of the greater field of knowledge beyond their discipline and recognize the importance of lifelong learning in maintaining a level of excellence in their practice.
WLU PA Program Success in Achieving It’s Goals
1. Clinically competent primary care physician assistants who practice evidence-based medicine:
Graduates evaluated thousands of patients during the 12-month clinical year. All graduates took, and passed end of rotations exams, as well as received a “Satisfactory” evaluation from their clinical preceptors in order to graduate. All of our graduates completed two terms of research instruction that focused significantly on practicing evidence-based medicine. On a scale of 1-5 with 5, being “Outstanding”, our preceptor Graduate survey mean for program preparation to practice evidence-based medicine was 3.89.
2. Reflect the highest standards of compassionate, legal, ethical and moral conduct:
All students complete a one-term course entitled, “Clinical Ethics”. All students were evaluated in the area of professionalism to include compassionate, legal, ethical, and moral conduct. These evaluations are a
required part of every course and rotation in the program.
3. Be team-oriented, culturally sensitive providers who are dedicated to their communities:
All students were exposed to a myriad of guest lecturers from different professions in the didactic phase to facilitate their understanding of the practice of medicine as a team effort. All students completed several
courses such as Professional Issues within the curriculum that explicitly discuss cultural similarities and differences. Our physician assistant student society was involved in many on and off campus community
oriented activities. All students were taught the team concept and the expected of a PA in the classroom, and learned to practice it in the clinical year. On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being “Outstanding”, – Graduate survey
results demonstrated a WLU preparation for inter-professional relationships mean 3.59, as well as Behaviors expected of a PA mean of 3.94.
4. Encourage improvement in quality, accessibility and cost effectiveness of patient care within community:
In the didactic phase, all students received information related to the Affordable Care Act and are familiar with third party payers and the financing of our Nation’s healthcare. All of our students received instructions
pertaining to coding and billing and how medicine relates to cost.
5. Be critical thinking and effective communicators with both patients and health care professionals:
Students were encouraged to think critically as through a myriad of pedagogical methods, they were assessed at higher levels of thinking. Effective communication with patients and healthcare providers were
evaluated throughout the 24-month program. Graduate survey concerning Communication revealed a mean of 4.0. Problem solving/critical thinking revealed a mean of 4.00.
6. Identify the lack of medical care in rural and under-served regions and consider practicing their discipline or providing service in such locations:
All of our graduates received specific instruction about the health disparities that are encountered in the practice of medicine in rural and under-served areas. They are proficient in the economics of rural health
practice and the quality and role of primary care in the rural setting.
7. Have an appreciation of the greater field of knowledge beyond their discipline and recognize the importance of lifelong learning in maintaining a level of excellence in their practice:
Graduates all passed 2 courses, “Research I” and “Research II” which ensured they have the skills necessary to evaluate the medical literature and apply the information to their individual clinical practice. They will
continue to use these skills throughout their career for lifelong, self-initiated learning. Physician assistants must remain current in medical education by logging 100 hours every 2 years, and by taking the Physician
assistant re-certification examination every 10 years.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree program is intended to prepare entry level medical professionals to assist the primary care physician with all medical and patient care responsibilities within the health care system, especially for rural and under-served populations. In order to accomplish this all-encompassing, student-based objective, the program will prepare the student to:
- Practice cognitive skills specific to the systematic diagnostic process.
- Practice problem-solving skills specific to the systematic diagnostic process.
- Practice patient care methodologies consistent with Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) guidelines.
- Understand all ethical considerations within the field.
- Critically analyze clinical literature and methodologies.
- Perform literature reviews critical to maintaining currency within the field.
- Engage in community interaction.
- Provide attainable health care in rural and under-served regions.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree program will also:
- Establish cooperative and productive relationships with other schools, departments, and programs within the University, clinical affiliates and preceptor sites.
- Implement continuous and periodic self-study which will provide ongoing monitoring, evaluation and improvement of program activities.
- Encourage and provide opportunities for continued professional growth and development for Physician Assistant faculty.