PA curriculum

  1. I received this from a friend. I am both envious and ashamed. Imagine no nursing theory, no leadership, no population health, no information systems, no 3 credit course on ethics? No 250-500 hours reported as clinical when in fact they are not clinical hours but are spent working on a paper.
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  2. Visit Jules A profile page

    About Jules A

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 8,787; Likes: 13,373

    26 Comments

  3. by   aprnKate
    Sadly... I wish NP school curriculum was like that of the PA school as well but look on the bright side you don't have to necessarily to be under a physician to open up your practice in certain states. I guess that is one advantage NPs have. I am envious of those surgery and inpatient rotations though.
  4. by   adventure_rn
    I'm guessing that at least some of the content you listed is integrated into the curriculum even if it doesn't have a specific class (ethics, for instance). They do have epidemiology (population health) and three semester of fundamentals (I'd imagine that's the PA equivalent of nursing theory/fundamentals).

    The only things I see missing are info systems and leadership. TBH, the leadership kind of makes sense to me: compared to nursing, it is relatively rare to see PAs in leadership roles. Nurses are managed by other nurses and doctors are managed by other doctors, but PAs are managed by doctors (not other PAs).

    Do you mean that this PA program doesn't include clinical hours, or that your NP program doesn't include clinical hours? Either way, that sounds pretty suspect. It's hard to believe that any advanced practice program would be accredited without clinical hour standards.
  5. by   caliotter3
    I've checked out some PA programs recently and agree with you. I have been needing an upgrade of my education for quite some time and have zilch interest in nursing theory. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen.
  6. by   Jules A
    Quote from adventure_rn
    I'm guessing that at least some of the content you listed is integrated into the curriculum even if it doesn't have a specific class (ethics, for instance). They do have epidemiology (population health) and three semester of fundamentals (I'd imagine that's the PA equivalent of nursing theory/fundamentals).

    The only things I see missing are info systems and leadership. TBH, the leadership kind of makes sense to me: compared to nursing, it is relatively rare to see PAs in leadership roles. Nurses are managed by other nurses and doctors are managed by other doctors, but PAs are managed by doctors (not other PAs).

    Do you mean that this PA program doesn't include clinical hours, or that your NP program doesn't include clinical hours? Either way, that sounds pretty suspect. It's hard to believe that any advanced practice program would be accredited without clinical hour standards.
    Thank you for responding. Yes I'd be certain ethics is integrated into the courses so there is no need to spend an entire 3 credits writing discussion board posts. Below is the description for one of the PA fundamentals class and it sounds like actual practical diagnostic knowledge, not hours spent on the different nursing theorists. I do think the nursing specific aka nursing fluff has some value but could be integrated into other courses or as ONE 1-2 credit class not 12 credits. In both my NP programs I felt this was a colossal waste of valuable time. Same with leadership not a bad idea to have a module or two but an entire class?

    The PA programs have significantly more clinical hours than NP programs. The DNP "clinical hours" which are included in the 1,000 hours are not clinical hours, in my opinion. They are time used to create and implement, on a trial basis, a clinical project and write a paper. Again not a terrible idea but hundreds of hours? Nope, I'm not feeling it. In contrast it is my understanding PA programs require 2,000 clinical hours.

    PAS 6210 FUNDAMENTALS OF PRIMARY CARE & CLINICAL MEDICINE I

    The student begins an exploration of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of common medical problems encountered in inpatient and outpatient medical care. Emphasis is placed on the interrelatedness of bodily systems and medical disciplines. Using lectures and problem-based learning sessions, the student will synthesize information from various medical disciplines to formulate an accurate differential diagnosis and a treatment plan for complex clinical presentations of illness. Although sequencing of modules may vary, the three-course medicine sequence provides an overview of all major disciplines in medicine. (2.0 credits)
  7. by   Julius Seizure
    At least they have research classes just like us?
  8. by   Jules A
    Quote from Julius Seizure
    At least they have research classes just like us?
    Yes but only one. I've had 3 so probably 9 credits. SHM
  9. by   lwsoccjs
    Hey Jules,

    Yeah, it honestly is no comparison between the curriculum's. For instance I was sharing with my fellow class mates the classes between a top PA program, the same school's NP program and my program located in Florida a respected brick and mortar school. Look at University of Colorado's PA program. Here is the list of their PA classes. Two years didactic, full 22 credits at a time. Then full time clinicals for a third year. Compared to really any NP program thats 2 years, for the most part 12 credits with 500-1000 hours. It's honestly pretty sad

    Human Anatomy
    Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare I
    Physical Diagnosis I
    Introduction to Clinical Reasoning
    Integrated Sciences Basic to Medicine I
    Medical Microbiology
    General Pathology
    Pediatric Growth & Development
    Assessment and Care of the Neonate
    Physical Diagnosis II
    Women's Health
    Problem Based Clinical
    Reasoning II
    Professional and Clinical
    Practice I
    Clinical Cornerstones I
    Community Clinic
    Integrated Sciences Basic to Medicine II
    Systemic Pathology
    Neuroscience
    Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare II
    Problem Based Clinical Reasoning III
    Prevention Across the Lifespan
    Professional and Clinical Practice II
    Clinical Cornerstones II
    Community Clinic
    Evidence Based Medicine
    Interprofessional Education & Development
    Clinical Rotations (2)
    Pharmacology I
    Immunology
    Applied Behavioral Medicine I
    Pediatric Clinical Medicine I
    Adult Clinical Medicine I
    Emergency Medicine I
    Professional and Clinical
    Practice III
    Interprofessional Education & Development
    Clinical Cornerstones III
    Clinical Rotation (1)
    Pharmacology II
    Applied Behavioral Medicine II
    Pediatric Clinical Medicine II
    Adult Clinical Medicine II
    Orthopedics
    Emergency Medicine II
    Population-Based Healthcare
    Professional and Clinical Practice IV
    Clinical Cornerstones IV
    Clinical Rotation (1)
    ​Ambulatory Pediatrics in Academic Setting
    Pediatric Subspecialty (neonatology or adolescent medicine)
    Inpatient Pediatric Medicine
    Family Medicine
    Emergency Medicine
    Adult Internal Medicine
    Women's Health (if not taken in 2nd Year)
    Clinical Seminar (May of 3rd Year)
    3.5 Electives.
  10. by   Jules A
    Totally jealous and also a little intimidated. When I look at mine from a well respected, top 10%, SON I am sad. I've checked others and they are all equally as light.
  11. by   WestCoastSunRN
    Yeah, I hear ya. I will say - not to open up a DE debate - that I see a definite difference between a PA student with non-clinical background Vs an NP student with nursing background. But even then, the experience of those NP students with nursing backgrounds vary greatly.

    And then what we really care about is the finished product - not what each one looks like as a student.

    I've never met an NP (who I would trust) who said he/she felt well prepared by their Program. Granted this could, in part, be wise humility talking. That said why would we not prepare our APNs who can work independently with just as much clinical rigor as providers who do not practice independently?

    The answer I've seen here is that new NPs should be seeking out nurturing/mentoring employers. In a perfect world, yes. But real people have real loans to pay off and I have heard (and read here as well) if many many instances where new NPs were hired into shady circumstances. Ugh.

    This is one of the reasons I've chosen not to do the FNP. I might consider ACNP at some point bc I know of programs where the rigor seems higher and the coursework more clinicallly applicable as some classes mix Med and NP students.

    But for now I'm going to focus on truly building on the education, training, experience I have - because at this point in my career I want to do the "next thing" very very well. I think it would take me too many years that I don't have left to do that as an NP - at least as a primary NP.

    Maybe if, as you've pointed out, the actual education for that role was more rigorous it would be something I could feel more confident about.

    My feeling is I shouldn't have to abandon nursing and go to PA school to get that.
    Last edit by WestCoastSunRN on Jan 22
  12. by   Jules A
    Quote from WestCoastSunRN
    My feeling is I shouldn't have to abandon nursing and go to PA school to get that.
    If I wanted to work in somatic medicine I would definitely go for PA unless you want to open your own solo practice. Owning a practice doesn't appeal to me at all and if I did I'd still wantthe expertise of a skilled MD on board, for back up and to maximize billing, and a PA could do that easy enough by hiring them as medical director.
  13. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I'm working on my DNP now and I do think we have way too many theory and research classes. In my eyes being an NP is a clinical role and our education should have a laser focus on that role. We spend way too much time doing group projects on nothing of seemingly importance and even more time on what I see as a fruitless endeavor ... the dreaded Capstone. It is what it is & I'm graduating very soon but my educational experience could have been time better spent. Do Docs or PA's spend this much time on nonclinical courses? I think not & with good reason. Am I worried about stepping into my new role? You betcha I got a lot to learn
  14. by   Dodongo
    Honestly, if I wanted to practice in any primary care/family med/outpatient capacity, I would have gone PA.

    The NP specialty tracks, however, I think, produce better providers in those specialties (psych, acute care, peds, psych, OB, etc).

    PAs are trained as generalists, so they don't have the focused training that those NPs do in those specific specialties (I've seen it first hand - PA programs do not prepare their graduates to practice in ICU, psych, OB, etc). But their education is FAR more in depth than a FNP's, so in comparing those two PA>>>>FNP.

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