Curriculum

Physician Assistant Program director Robert A. Adams, O.P.A.-C., working with students at Mayo Clinic

The Physician Assistant Program curriculum is developed by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in collaboration with Gundersen La Crosse Hospital, Marshfield Clinic and Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

Preclinical phase

The first portion of the program, the preclinical phase, lasts approximately 12 months — June through May. During this phase, you complete classroom and laboratory activities in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Clinical phase

The clinical phase of the program runs from June of the second year through April of the final year. Clinical rotations are provided at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic Health System, Gundersen La Crosse Hospital, Marshfield Clinic and other practice sites in southwestern Wisconsin, southern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa.

The clinical phase courses primarily involve supervised practice experiences in a variety of settings and specialties. These courses involve an average of 35 to 40 hours of practice experience each week.

In many rotations, one night a week and one weekend a month of on-call experience is expected. You follow a self-directed discipline of study to develop the clinical and cognitive skills required in each course.

  • Predictive testing for adult-onset disorders
  • Hereditary cancer syndromes
  • Exposure to rare adult-onset genetic disorders

Grading or evaluation

Evaluation of student performance in each of the clinical phase experiences includes the preceptor's evaluation of clinical performance, a written examination of cognitive performance and — where appropriate and possible — a site visit by program faculty.

You return to campus approximately one day every four weeks for written examinations, evaluation of clinical skills, participation in program seminars and clinical activities. Successful completion of all clinical rotations, program seminars, activities and the program's final exam is required for graduation.

The tools used to evaluate student performance include:

  • Written examination
  • Demonstration of skills
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Faculty reviews

This system of evaluation provides a comprehensive look at individual performance, allowing students who are experiencing academic difficulty to be directed to appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Curriculum enhancements

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to developing and maintaining the best education programs. The curriculum and other aspects of this program are routinely assessed and changed as necessary to ensure the highest-quality training.

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