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WHAT IS A PA?

The Physician Assistant (PA) profession was created to improve and expand healthcare with some of the earliest programs underway in the early-to-mid 1960s. PAs are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine in collaboration with and the supervision of a physician.  Within the physician/PA relationship, PAs exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.   Today, there are more than 131,000 Physician Assistants practicing in a wide variety of medical and surgical specialty care settings across the United States. The concept is expanding rapidly and providers with similar roles can be found in many international settings.

In the United States, PAs are educated and trained in intensive education programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). They are trained in the medical model and work closely with physicians, augmenting and complementing the physician role. Education consists of classroom and laboratory instruction in the basic medical and behavioral sciences (such as anatomy, pharmacology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, and physical diagnosis), followed by clinical rotations in internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, and behavioral health.

Upon graduation, PAs take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and passage of the national certifying exam are required for state licensure.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The University reserves the right to change tuition and fees at any time without advanced notice. Learn more about the tuition payment schedule, individual health insurance status, and the tuition refund process.

The Physician Assistant Program processes hundreds of applications for admissions each year. Learn more about requirements for admissions including GRE scores, minimum prerequisite course work, and GPA requirements.

The MPAS curriculum is sequenced and designed to address and integrate the entrustable professional activities in which are contained the competencies the student must achieve to successfully enter the profession upon graduation.

RVU PA STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Ciera Black, PAS I
Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Campus Location
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
San Diego, CA

Undergraduate studies:
Psychobiology.

Graduate studies:
Masters of Biomedical Sciences

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
SGA, and Cadaver Lab instructor.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am from San Diego and I moved to Colorado about 3 years ago on a whim. I fell in love with the mountains and the people here, and decided to make it home for a while. I love being outdoors and hiking with my husband and our pups. We are constantly on the road to find new rural places to camp, ride dirt bikes, and take photos. I love to teach undergraduate and high school students, so I work as a cadaver lab instructor at a local community college, alongside my PA studies.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I chose RVU because of its location and the PA program's emphasis on clinical education. I really wanted to be part of a developing program and RVU was the perfect fit for me. I chose to become a PA because I love the perfect balance it offers as a career. Not only does it balance team-based decision making with autonomy, it also offers a healthy work and home life balance.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
I enjoy using my telescope and learning about space. I enjoy home improvement projects, especially ones in the yard. Overall, I am happiest when outdoors, whether I'm camping, hiking, or off-roading.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I used to race dirt-bikes competitively.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
You are studying for your patients, not for a grade.

What are your medical interests?
Pediatric emergency medicine or rural medicine.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My favorite memories always revolve around our in-person skills days because we get to see each other face to face and actually practice what we've been learning. My first time doing an ultrasound to see the heart and vessels was my favorite memory because you could look around the room and see how proud all of my classmates were when they successfully found the structures.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
PA school is truly the hardest thing you will have ever done in your life thus far. Actively scheduling time to focus on your mental health every single day is vital to making it through this.

Click here to read previous student spotlights

CONTACT THE PA PROGRAM

COLORADO CAMPUS
8401 South Chambers Rd.

Parker, CO 80112
303-373-2008

For faster response, please direct inquiries to the PA Program:
admissions@rvu.edu