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A Day in the Life of an HPU Student

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Physician Assistant

The Physician Assistant program at High Point University’s Congdon School of Health Sciences is experiential in nature, allowing students to gain the knowledge and the skills to be successful in their career path. Each student gets paired with a mentor from the class above them to provide guidance throughout the pursuit of their degree. The PA program offers numerous simulated scenario learning labs with experiences that students are likely to encounter in the field, including:

  • problem-based learning classrooms;
  • history and physical exam lab, where students learn what to listen for on a cardiac exam, what to look for in an eye exam and more;
  • clinical skills lab, in which students learn the proper way to suture, start an IV, joint injections, etc.;
  • high fidelity mannequins in several simulation rooms: labor and delivery, operation, pediatric, patient exam rooms, emergency medicine suites
  • simulation debriefing room

[music playing]

Hi. I'm Amanda Hall. And we're in one of the traditional classrooms here at High Point University. We actually have a unique curriculum that combines both traditional and experiential-based learning. So we're going to head downstairs, where most of our experiential-based classrooms are, which is really the heartbeat of our program. Let's go check it out.

This is one of our problem-based learning classrooms, where much of our experiential learning takes place. Another awesome thing about High Point's program is that everybody gets paired up with a mentor from the class above them. This is my mentor, Kelsey.

We spend a lot of time in here working through the cases as a team to break them down piece by piece until we find the steps we need to solve them. And now I'm going to take you to the history and physical exam lab, which is a place where I like to spend a lot of time. Here in the history and physical exam lab, we learn everything from what to listen for on a cardiac exam to what to look for on an eye exam. This prepares us for performing these exams on patients. Hey, what are you guys working on?

She's taking a look inside my ear.

Hi there. My name's Megan. And this is our clinical skills lab. This is where we learn everything from suturing to starting IVs to doing joint injections. Procedures are really at the heart of what we do as PAs when we're treating our patients.

Hi. My name is Liz. And this is our simulation center. Every simulation room has a high fidelity mannequin that allows us to diagnose and treat patients in a live setting. This is our labor and delivery room. And this is our pediatric simulation room.

This is our operation suite. This is where we get to practice more in-depth procedures in a sterile setting. This is our emergency medicine suite, where you get to learn how to function in a fast-paced, high stress setting. This is our simulation de-briefing room. After every simulation experience, we gather in here with our faculty advisor and they tell us what went well in the simulation, what maybe didn't go so well, and how we can improve for the next one.

These are our patient exam rooms. This is where we get to take all of the skills that we learned in all of our other labs and apply it to standardized patients that come in from the community, as well as be filmed, so we can actually look at our performance later and determine how we can improve. And that's it. I hope you enjoyed your tour of the High Point University physician assistant department.