Course Descriptions

MDSC 6110 – The Diagnostic Process I

This is the first in a series of three courses designed to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills requisite for medical history taking, physical examination, clinical problem solving, diagnostic assessment, treatment implementation, and for counseling and educating patients. Learning methods include lecture format, skills performance, clinical decision making, role-playing, individual research and case problem solving to integrate and synthesize these competencies.

Credits: two hours.

Prerequisites: Admission to Western Michigan University's physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6120 – The Diagnostic Process II

This is the second in a series of three courses presented sequentially through the preclinical year of training. This course provides opportunities for the systematic evaluation of patient problems through history and physical examination, problem exploration, critical thinking and creative problem solving, lectures, demonstrations, group problem solving, practicum sessions, student examination of patients, as well as written and performance evaluation of these modalities, are included among the learning methodologies. Emphasis is placed on interviewing and physical examination, but more so on information gathering and synthesis to accomplish problem oriented patient care. Students will refine skills in eliciting and recording a complete patient database, as well as formulating differential diagnoses.

Credits: two hours.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester physician assistant course work or departmental permission.

MDSC 6130 – The Diagnostic Process III

This is the summative offering in this series of three courses designed to develop competence in both the art and the science of patient evaluation. Students will continue to assess patients utilizing history taking and physical examination skills. Students will master special examinations such as for the pediatric patient, as well as the pregnant patient. Further emphasis will be placed on formulating diagnoses, therapeutic and patient education plans. Students will develop competencies in prevention strategies and recording and communicating information in a medical team model.

Credits: one hour.

Prerequisites: Admission to the physician assistant program.

MDSC 6210 – 6230 Medical Pathophysiology I , II, III

This is a three part sequence designed to provide the physician assistant student with a foundation for understanding human diseases. Students will review clinically relevant physiology and acquire a working knowledge of pathophysiology. Emphasis will be on the cellular mechanisms of disease and the body's reactions to them. Topics covered will parallel those in concurrent clinical science courses.

Credits: one hour each.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester physician assistant course work or departmental permission.

MDSC 6310 – 90 Integrated Medicine 1–9

This is a series of nine primary care medicine courses, each of which will introduce students to a different area of primary care medicine. The courses will help students develop the knowledge required for the practice of medicine. The courses will cover clinical topics using a systems approach. Within each system, a lifespan approach will be used ranging from the pediatric patient through the geriatric patient. Each topic will be examined using the integration of pathophysiology, clinical diagnostic testing, diagnosis, treatment, including nutritional issues and available alternative medicine options. Students will also learn the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for counseling patients concerning clinical problems and educating patients in wellness and disease management and prevention. The integrated medicine course will form the basis for clinical evaluation, diagnosis, management, and appropriate referral when necessary, of various health and wellness processes throughout a person's life.

Credit: two hours each.

Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

MDSC 6410 – 6430 Procedures and Diagnostic Testing I, II, III

This is a three course series. The series presents a foundation for understanding the appropriate uses and interpretations of clinical diagnostic testing. Through exploration of each of the major body systems, this course presents instruction in medical procedures used in the diagnosis or treatment of the common disorders of each system. It also provides the basis for the selection, utilization and interpretation of clinical laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests used to evaluate each system's principal functions.

Credits: one hour each.

Prerequisites: Admission to the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6510 – 6530 Health Promotion and Patient Counseling I, II, III

This is a three semester series presented sequentially through the preclinical year of training. This course will focus on the knowledge, skills and attitudes requisite for counseling and educating patients. These courses will emphasize counseling techniques, with application to clinical problems such as crisis intervention, substance abuse, human sexuality, multiculturalism, and patient/practitioner transference/counter transference. Theories of personality and psychopathology will be investigated as they relate to patient and practitioner coping styles and effectiveness. Students will also develop expertise in educating patients in wellness and disease prevention. Students will investigate the caregiver role and become insightful regarding their own needs and limitations.

Credits: one hour each.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of physician assistant course work or departmental permission.

MDSC 6550 Professional Issues for Physician Assistants I

This is the first in a series of two courses designed to examine the role of the physician assistant and the place and relationships of the PA profession in society. It also examines the legal aspects of physician assistant practice including licensing, malpractice, supervision, delegation and prescribing. Finally it addresses the ethical and practice standards which society expects of a medical professional.

Credits: one hour.

Prerequisites: Admission to the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6560 Professional Issues for Physician Assistants II

This is the second in a series of two courses designed to examine the role of the physician assistant and the place and relationships of the PA profession in society. It also examines the health care delivery systems including reimbursement, documentation, coding and billing. Finally, it addresses the socioeconomic issues affecting health care.

Credits: one hour.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Professional Issues for Physician Assistants I.

MDSC 6610 – 6630 Pharmacotherapeutics I, II, III

This is a sequence of three courses that focus on the concepts of pharmacotherapeutic principles necessary to provide a rational basis for clinical prescribing decisions. This course sequence will present the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, side effects, complications, dosages and contraindications using a systems approach.

Credits: two hours each.

Prerequisites: Admission to the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6710 – 6730 Advanced Clinical Anatomy I, II, III

This is a three semester human anatomy sequence designed to parallel and support clinical science courses in the Physician Assistant curriculum. Emphasis will be on achieving an understanding of anatomical concepts as they pertain to clinical problem solving and physical diagnosis. A laboratory component involving the study of cadaver prosections is included.

Credits: 6710 and 6720—two hours each, 6730—one hour.

Prerequisites: Admission to the physician assistant graduate program.

MDSC 6800 Research Concepts for Physician Assistants

Topics considered vary from semester to semester. Topics include a review of statistics, epidemiology, study design, methods and measures, and strategies for critically evaluating medical literature and medical informatics. Emphasis will be placed on the interpretation of medical literature and the application of evidence from clinical research in clinical decision making. The course prepares students to understand the methods and limitation of various types of research and how research impacts their practice of medicine. May be repeated for credit.

Credits: one to three hours.

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the physician assistant program.

MDSC 6810 Professional Field Experience – Women's Health

This course will place the student in a structured obstetrics/gynecology medicine clinical rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: four hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6820 Professional Field Experience – Pediatrics

This course will place the student in a structured pediatrics medicine clinical rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: four hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6830 Professional Field Experience – Surgery

This course will place the student in a structured surgery medicine clinical rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: four hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6840 Professional Field Experience – Medical Psychiatry

This course will place the student in a structured mental health clinical rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: four hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6850 Professional Field Experience – Emergency Medicine

This course will place the student in a structured clinical emergency medicine rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and will develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: four hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6860 Professional Field Experience – Family Medicine

This course will place the student in a structured family medicine clinical rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: eight hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6870 Professional Field Experience – Internal Medicine

This course will place the student in a structured clinical internal medicine rotation under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students will be expected to become proficient with a variety of clinical presentations and procedures, subject to site limitations, and will develop competence in diagnosing, evaluating, monitoring, treating, educating and/or referring patients. Selected readings will also be assigned to the students. These readings will change frequently to reflect current medical literature.

Credits: eight hours.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or departmental permission.

MDSC 6910 – 6930 Clinical Practice Issues I, II, III

This is a three course seminar series designed to present and discuss various topics relevant to current clinical practice. The topics will be generated by the challenges the students will encounter in the practice of medicine. The course will also address the evolutionary trends in the health care arena and will facilitate the student's transition to professional practice.

Credits: one hour each.

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year and concurrently enrolled in a professional field experience course or departmental permission.

MDSC 7100 Research Project/Professional Experience

This course will ensure that students are qualified in applying the lessons learned in MDSC 6800 in a practical clinical manner. This is the culmination course of the master's curriculum, and requires a paper of publishable quality and presentation of the same. Several permutations are possible, including research under faculty supervision, clinical elective field experience focus on a research topic, clinical case investigation, and others.

Credits: two to six hours (eight hours required in program).

Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical year and at least one MDSC Field Experience or departmental permission.

Course not currently offered

MDSC 6100 Special Topics in Physician Assistant

This course examines selected topics in medicine. Topics considered will vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit.

Credits: one to three hours.

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the physician assistant program and successfully completion of previous MDSC courses.

MDSC 6950 Special Clinical Topics in Physician Assistant

This course examines selected topics in clinical medicine.Topics considered will vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit.

Credits: one to three hours.

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the physician assistant program and successfully completion of previous MDSC courses.