Physician Assistant Studies Student Handbook
Introduction to the Physician Assistant Studies Handbook
The production of this document is the result of the considerable efforts of the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).
The purpose of the student handbook is to inform students of program policies and procedures. The program updates the student handbook periodically. The college also publishes a student handbook that covers college-wide policies and procedures along with other resources and all are available on-line at the following link: http://nyit.edu/policies/.
NYIT reserves the right to make changes at any time without notice. Students will be notified of all updates through their NYIT email. Within the first week of the academic year, a form will be distributed requiring students to sign off on the new changes.
Greetings from the Chair
Welcome to the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in the School of Health Professions at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). You have decided to embark on a journey that is exciting, transformative and will often be challenging.
Your acceptance into the NYIT PA Program gives you an opportunity to acquire a solid medical education leading to a profession that is held to specific standards and level of competencies.
Competencies are defined as measurable or observable knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors critical to successful job performance. Competencies for physician assistant graduates have been developed by four physician assistant national organizations: the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). The NYIT program is known and respected for the very high standard of education and professionalism it expects of its students and graduates, who often exceed the minimum competencies required.
This program's educational goals are to educate and train highly skilled health care professionals who provide quality health care while keeping patient safety as a paramount goal. This is an enormous responsibility and this responsibility lies not only with the program but with you as well. The program will give you the tools but in the end it is up to you to make sure you live up to the responsibilities and standards of the profession.
The Department of Physician Assistant Studies is one of five NYIT departments in the School of Health Professions. The Physician Assistant program was established in September 1997 when the first students were admitted to what was then a Bachelor of Science degree program in Physician Assistant Studies. The first class began in August 1999 and 20 students graduated on August 1, 2001. On February 15, 2005 the New York State Education Department registered two new programs at NYIT, a three-year Master of Science (MS) degree program in Physician Assistant Studies and a combined Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences/Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program (B.S./M.S.). The Physician Assistant MS degree program requirements include four traditional semesters of didactic studies followed by 48 weeks of supervised full time clinical clerkships at selected clinical settings.
This handbook is one of the many resources available to you, for referring to the competencies you are expected to achieve, as well as a guide to the responsibilities and expectations of the faculty and the student body.
The faculty and staff are delighted to be able to support you on your journey.
Zehra Ahmed, PA-C, MBBS
Assistant Professor and Interim Chair
The faculty and staff of the New York Institute of Technology Department of Physician Assistant Studies welcome you. The entire faculty is committed to your successful educational experience in Physician Assistant Studies.
The program will challenge and test your personal and academic limits. You will find the rewards of completion of the program well worth your efforts. Graduation from the program will help to prepare you for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) and to practice as a knowledgeable, skillful, and caring health care provider.
The focus of your education will be primary care; however, the curriculum and clinical clerkships cover the entire spectrum of medicine. In the process of your education you will learn much about yourself, both your strengths and areas requiring development.
This handbook is designed to provide help to you in understanding policies of the program. Changes in this document are anticipated and you will be provided with updates as they occur. Feel free to discuss any issues or concerns you have regarding this document with a Physician Assistant program faculty member or your program faculty advisor, who will be assigned to you soon.
The faculty of the NYIT Physician Assistant program has as our highest priority your success and look forward to the day when you will become our colleagues. Once again we welcome you.
The Faculty and Staff of the NYIT Physician Assistant Program
Faculty And Staff
Zehra Ahmed, PA-C, M.B.B.S. Assistant Professor & Interim Chair
Timothy Robinson, DO, M.B.A.
Corri Wolf, PA-C, R.D., M.S.
Associate Professor, Academic Coordinator, Associate Chair
David Jackson, PA-C, D.H.Sc., DFAAPA
Associate Professor, Clinical Coordinator, Director of PA Admissions
Frank Acevedo, PA-C, M.S., DFAAPA
Barbara Piccirillo, PA-C, M.S., DFAAPA
Kristine A. Prazak, PA-C, M.S.
Elizabeth A. DiNapoli, M.Ed.
Director of Clerkship Education
Suzana Uda-Rebecca, M.A.
Staff Associate/Associate Director of PA Admissions
Brittany McKeith, B.A.
Staff Associate/Associate Director of PA Admissions
Program Accreditation Status
The NYIT Department of Physician Assistant Studies was awarded full reaccreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. in September 2012. The program's next accreditation review is September 2019.
OVERVIEW OF THE PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM
NYIT Physician Assistant (PA) program was initially designed as a four-year program leading to the bachelor's degree and transitioned to a master's degree program in September 2005.
Students entering the NYIT Master of Science PA program are required to have a bachelor's degree with a strong emphasis in science and mathematics or be matriculated from the NYIT BS to MS program. All students entering the master's degree PA program must show evidence of proficiency in the sciences and have completed prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology.
The three-year (30 months on-site) professional program is divided into two didactic years and one clinical year. The design and sequencing of the didactic coursework is structured in such a manner as to provide students with carefully crafted incremental steps toward the development of their cognitive and psychomotor abilities. The curriculum is designed to provide a basis for the study and practice of clinical medicine. The key basic and behavioral science courses are Advanced Anatomy & Physiology, Clinical Skills, Pharmacology, Advanced Clinical Pathology, PA Professional Issues, and Behavioral Medicine, all administered in the didactic years.
The fall and spring semesters of the first year introduce the students to professional issues and patient communication through the PA Professional Issues, Clinical Skills and Behavioral Medicine courses. Students begin their introduction to the actual practice of medicine in the first year through lectures in clinical medicine. Students subsequently receive instruction in Pharmacology. The Clinical Skills I & II and Clinical Laboratory Medicine courses provide students with the acquisition of physical diagnosis skills and the use of laboratory procedures needed for formulating a diagnosis and monitoring a patient's status. Courses have also been sequenced to assist students in the development of their master's project: Epidemiology and Interpretation of the Medical Literature, Informatics in Medicine, and Research I-IV courses, with these later courses extending into the clinical year.
The second year didactic courses escalate in the concepts and higher order thinking that provide students with those skills that are essential for the transition to clinical clerkships they will experience in the third year. These courses include Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Pharmacology II, Emergency Medicine, Clinical Decision Making, Clinical Skills III and Family Practice. In Health Promotion and Disease Prevention students learn to further apply behavior modification skills learned first in Behavioral Medicine so as to deliver appropriate patient education. The course in Emergency Medicine is delivered after Clinical Medicine I and II courses have been completed and concurrently with Clinical Skills III. Surgery introduces the student to preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care issues in general surgery, orthopedics, thoracic, cardiovascular and ophthalmology. Students learn to deal specifically with medical and surgical emergencies and receive certification in basic and advanced cardiac life support (BCLS and ACLS). Clinical Decision Making provides focused problem-based learning that will allow students to experience the medical decision making process first-hand. Clinical Skills III provides students with the necessary psychomotor skills to perform the various basic medical/surgical procedures that will be required of them while on clerkships. The Family Practice course provides students with opportunities to enhance the Clinical Medicine courses already mastered and focus upon the chronic care model to best prepare for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The students receive further patient contact experience in the Standardized Patient Laboratory
(ICC) throughout the didactic and clinical years.
The clinical education in the final year will be completed at highly qualified facilities located throughout the greater metropolitan New York area, and may also include other more distant sites when desirable from either the program's perspective or the need of a specific student. The program has as a significant strength a number of outstanding affiliated clinical sites and continues to increase the number of clinical affiliations.
The PA program is a constituent part of the School of Health Professions. The departmental collegiality that exists within the school provides an exceptional academic environment that benefits both the faculty and students. NYIT PA students are presented with the opportunity to train with osteopathic medical students as well as students in Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Clinical Nutrition. The PA students learn the team concept of medicine early in their academic careers.
New York Institute of Technology Department of Physician Assistant Studies Technical Standards
The New York Institute of Technology Physician Assistant program is committed to the admission and matriculation of highly qualified students and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender or disability. Regarding disabled individuals, the College will not discriminate against such individuals who are otherwise qualified, but the College will expect that minimal technical standards be met by all applicants and students as set forth herein. These standards reflect what has been determined as reasonable expectations for physician assistant (PA) students and graduate PAs in performing common and important functions, keeping in mind the safety and welfare of patients. The following technical standards are to be used for admission and matriculation of PA students as well as granting of a PA degree. These standards do not reflect what may be required for entry-level employment of the graduate PA.
A candidate for the PA degree signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the practice of medicine and surgery. Therefore, a PA must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of quality, cost-effective patient care. In order to perform the activities described below, candidates for a PA degree must be able to quickly, accurately, and consistently learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.
The graduate PA must have multiple skills and abilities including: observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative, quantitative, behavioral, and social. Technological compensation can be made for handicaps in some of these areas, but a candidate must be able to perform continuously and without interruption in a reasonably independent and timely manner.
Candidates for the PA program must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, and equilibrium. Their exteroceptor (touch, pain, and temperature) and proprioceptor (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to enable them to carry out all the activities required continuously and without interruption to complete the activities described below in a timely manner to account for emergent patient circumstances.
Candidates must have sufficient motor function capabilities to meet the demands of the PA program and the demands of total patient care without presenting a danger to themselves, coworkers or patients.
Candidates and all PA students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and nearby. It is essential to have adequate visual capabilities to assess structural asymmetries, and abnormalities of the musculoskeletal and integumentary systems.
Candidates and all PA students should be able to speak clearly, and to hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, examine patients, describe findings, and understand nonverbal behaviors. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with fellow students, faculty, patients, and other health care providers in a culturally competent manner. This includes the ability to read and communicate, both verbally and in writing, in English, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
Candidates and all PA students must have sufficient motor function to execute those movements required in the general and emergency care of patients and to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. PAs are required to be able to perform cardiovascular resuscitation, insert catheters, open obstructed airways, perform obstetrical maneuvers and operate various diagnostic and therapeutic devices, as well as perform other procedures including emergency procedures, all in a timely manner. All of these require both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and use of touch and vision promptly, continuously and without interruption in a manner that does not present a danger to the student, co-worker or patient.
Candidates and all PA students need enhanced tactile abilities and should a candidate have significant tactile, sensory or proprioceptive disabilities, he or she would have to be carefully evaluated to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made prior to matriculation.
Problems might be present in individuals who have had previous burns, loss of sensation, scar formation, or malformations of the upper extremities.
Strength and Mobility
Candidates and all PA students should have upright posture with sufficient extremity and body strength to carry out various manipulative techniques. Individuals with limitations in these areas would be unlikely to succeed. Mobility is required when attending to emergency resuscitation and performing basic and advanced life support skills.
Behavior and Social
Candidates and PA students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities, and development of mature sensitive and effective relationships with patients. PA education requires the ability to tolerate physically taxing workloads and adapting to changing environments.
Candidates and students must display flexibility and spirit of cooperation with faculty, classmates and colleagues.
Certain personal characteristics are expected of a PA. These include ethics, morals, integrity, compassion, interpersonal skills, and motivation.
The NYIT PA program will attempt to develop creative ways of opening its curriculum to competitive, qualified disabled individuals. In so doing, however, the program must maintain the integrity of its curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the education of a PA.
PA students must have the ability to touch and be touched during the process of learning and practicing the art and science of medicine and physical examination.
Students will be partnered with another student regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion, race, or size. For the purpose of learning diagnostic and physical examination skills, students must dress in a prescribed manner:
- Males are to wear gym or bathing shorts.
- Females are to wear gym shorts or swim shorts and any of the following: bikini bathing suit top or sports bra.
All students may wear T-shirts, scrub wear, or sweat shirt/pants when not the subject of examination or treatment. The wearing of street clothes, unless otherwise notified, is not permitted during physical diagnosis sessions.
The wearing of hats or sunglasses during lectures, laboratory sessions, except for religious and health reasons, is not permitted. The clinical skills courses, as well as other courses, require hand contact by a partner with the student's body, including the head.
The standards for performance and behavior will be noted in documents such as the "NYIT Student Handbook". Other more detailed documents such as course outlines, syllabi, and/or memorandums may supersede these.
Academic, Professional, and Disciplinary Policies
Academic Standing Committee
The Academic Standing Committee (ASC) provides assistance to the PA program in dealing with student academic and disciplinary problems and makes recommendations and provides guidance to the Chair of the PA program regarding these matters. These recommendations may include recommendation for dismissal, deceleration, or various forms of remediation. The ASC is composed of representatives of the program's principal faculty, faculty from other departments within the School of Health Professions and other members as deemed appropriate by the chair. A student in jeopardy of academic dismissal or disciplinary action will be given an opportunity to present their case or any mitigating circumstances in person to the committee. The date and time of the ASC meeting will be communicated to the student.
Professional Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures
Professional behavior refers to the characteristic conduct that reflects the commonly held values and beliefs of the PA profession and the College. At all times, students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and abide by the highest standards of academic honesty, ethics and professional conduct.
The following are considered essential requirements for PA students and are part of students' academic review:
- Personal Hygiene, Grooming, and Timeliness
- The protection of the patients and students necessitates a high standard of personal and professional hygiene and cleanliness.
- Dress codes and grooming requirements must be followed.
- The student must be punctual and perform work in a reliable and timely manner.
- Interpersonal Relations and Collegiality
- The student must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, student peers, faculty, staff, and other professionals under all circumstances including highly stressful situations.
- The student must be able and willing to examine and modify his or her behavior when it interferes with productive individual or team relationships.
- The student must be able to manage patients with a range of moods and behaviors in a tactful, congenial, personal manner so as not to alienate or antagonize them.
- The student must be able to interact productively, cooperatively, and in a collegial manner with individuals of differing personalities and backgrounds, and be an active contributor to the process of providing health care by demonstrating the ability to engage in teamwork and team building.
- The well-being of the patient requires that the student be able to accept direction and supervision.
- The student must possess skills and experience necessary for effective and harmonious relationships in diverse academic and working environments.
- The student must maintain at all times patient confidentiality as well as comply with all HIPPA requirements.
- Handling Stress, Setting Priorities, and Time Management
- The student must be able to handle the stress inherent in a health care career.
- The student must be able to use good judgment in the course of his or her health care educational experience.
- The student must be able to demonstrate the ability to set priorities in the course of his or her health care educational experience.
- The student must possess the emotional maturity and stability to function effectively under stress that is inherent in medicine and to adapt to circumstances that are unpredictable or that change rapidly.
- The student must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, and tolerance.
- The student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.
- The student must demonstrate the ability to identify and set priorities in patient management and in all aspects of his or her professional work. The student must demonstrate time management skill by consistently meeting all deadlines.
- Honesty and Integrity
- The student must possess attributes that include integrity, honesty, and responsibility.
- The student must be forthright concerning errors or uncertainty.
- Maturity and Dedication
- The student must be dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and to the acquisition of knowledge and skills required for practice.
- The student must have the maturity and discipline required for the competent delivery of health care services.
- When a student denies that there is a problem, professes that he/she is not responsible for the problem, or fails to engage in any behavior that reflects that he/she cares, is concerned, or intends to try to improve his/her performance, the faculty may use this information to come to a more expeditious decision to dismiss.
A PA student should consistently demonstrate the following:
- Ethical conduct, integrity and honesty
- Concern for others, self and the rights of privacy
- Responsibility to duty
- An appearance appropriate to the clinical professional
- Ability to recognize one's limitations and accept constructive criticism
- Punctual attendance at all program and clinical activities
- Adherence to all deadlines
- Respect for interpersonal relationships with patients, their families, faculty, staff, and peers
- Maintain patient confidentiality at all times
Any program faculty, staff or preceptor can initiate a discussion regarding professional behavior and escalate the issue upwards. The program Chair will then initially handle matters involving professional behavior and discuss the infraction directly with the student. If the matter cannot be resolved, then the matter will be referred to the Academic Standing Committee. If the charges against the student are supported, the Committee will refer the issue back to the program Chair for appropriate action. All recommendations for action by the Committee will be submitted to the program Chair, Academic and Clinical Coordinators. Procedures outlined in the NYIT Student Code of Conduct will be followed as applicable.
The program Chair, in consultation with the Academic Standing Committee reserves the right to dismiss students from the program for the following reasons, but not limited to:
- Inability to remain in Good Academic Standing
- Academic Dishonesty
- Behavior endangering others safety or well-being
- Disrespectful behavior towards patients, faculty, staff, other students
- Excessive unexcused absences/lateness
- Unprofessional behavior includes but is not limited to the following:
- violation of patient confidentiality
- violation of AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct
- violation of clinical clerkship policy and procedure
- violation of State and Federal regulations
Criminal Background Check
Students will be required to successfully complete a criminal background check prior to matriculation in the program, and periodically thereafter. This will be done at the student's expense. Additionally, students will be required to successfully pass a urine drug screen (UDS) and periodically thereafter, and again this may be at the student's expense. This may include random UDS. Failure to comply may be interpreted by the program as equivalent to failing a UDS and result in disciplinary action including expulsion from the program.
Certain legal issues and/or convictions may preclude a student from being accepted by clerkships and thus may impact the student's ability to successfully complete the program, could prolong their program completion date and impede their ability to achieve certification and/or licensure.
Appeals Involving Dismissals
A student will be notified by the Chair of recommendations for dismissal, either for academic or disciplinary reasons. The student may appeal the Chair's decision in writing to the Dean, outlining the reason for the appeal. The appeal must be submitted to the Dean within 10 days of the Chair's initial notification of dismissal.
The PA program honor code will be presented to each class at the beginning of the program and students will be asked to sign the Student Honor Code Pledge (see Appendix C).
Institution and Program Mission Statements
NYIT Mission Statement
- To provide career-oriented professional education
- To offer access to opportunity to all qualified students
- To support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world
Physician Assistant Program Mission Statement
The mission of the Physician Assistant (PA) program is based on the fundamental principles of New York Institute of Technology, the Physician Assistant profession and the belief that access for all persons to quality health care is a right.
The mission includes educating PA students to:
- provide high quality healthcare services to all segments of the population throughout the country
- become culturally sensitive and caring
- integrate academic knowledge with practice
The NYIT PA program:
- seeks and encourages diversity in the recruitment of minorities within its faculty, staff, and student body
- provides an interdisciplinary educational experience which includes the holistic approach to patients
- enhances the students' educational experience through the integration of the technological resources of New York Institute of Technology
Physician Assistant Program Goals
The NYIT PA program is designed to provide students with the necessary academic and clinical skills to function competently, confidently, compassionately, and efficiently as graduate PAs.
Through a critical, continuous, and dynamic self-assessment, the program will identify and implement changes necessary to exceed the highest possible standards as outlined in the most recent version 4th ed. of Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education published by ARC-PA and as amended in July, 2010, in October, 2011, September, 2012, December 2012 September 2013 and September 2014.
Graduate Competencies and Educational Goals
Competencies for physician assistant graduates have been developed by four prominent physician assistant national organizations: the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).
The NYIT Physician Assistant program educates qualified individuals to be highly skilled members of a health care team who provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care with physician supervision. The program's educational goals for its graduates conform to the competencies laid out by the following organizations that oversee the PA profession: ARC-PA, PAEA, NCCPA and AAPA.
Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession
(Originally adopted 2005; revised 2012)
Between 2003-2004, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) led an effort with three other national PA organizations (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), and Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)—formerly Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP)—to define PA competencies in response to similar efforts conducted within other health care professions and the growing demand for accountability and assessment in clinical practice.
The resultant document, Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession, provided a foundation from which physician assistant organizations and individual physician assistants could chart a course for advancing the competencies of the PA profession.
In 2011, representatives from the same four national PA organizations convened to review and revise the document. The revised manuscript was then reviewed and approved by the leadership of the four organizations in 2012.
This document serves as a map for the individual PA, the physician-PA team, and organizations committed to promoting the development and maintenance of professional competencies among physician assistants. While some competencies will be acquired during formal PA education, others will be developed and mastered as physician assistants progress through their careers.
The PA profession defines the specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, and educational experiences requisite for physician assistants to acquire and demonstrate these competencies.
The clinical role of PAs includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings. Professional competencies for physician assistants include the effective and appropriate application of medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice.
Patient-centered, physician assistant practice reflects a number of overarching themes. These include an unwavering commitment to patient safety, cultural competence, quality health care, lifelong learning, and professional growth. Furthermore, the profession's dedication to the physician-physician assistant team benefits patients and the larger community.
Physician Assistant Competencies
Medical knowledge includes the synthesis of pathophysiology, patient presentation, differential diagnosis, patient management, surgical principles, health promotion, and disease prevention. Physician assistants must demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care in their area of practice. In addition, physician assistants are expected to demonstrate an investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations.
Physician assistants are expected to understand, evaluate, and apply the following to clinical scenarios:
- evidence-based medicine
- scientific principles related to patient care
- etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic process, and epidemiology for medical conditions
- signs and symptoms of medical and surgical conditions
- appropriate diagnostic studies
- management of general medical and surgical conditions to include pharmacologic and other treatment modalities
- interventions for prevention of disease and health promotion/maintenance
- screening methods to detect conditions in an asymptomatic individual
- history and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate differential diagnoses
Interpersonal & Communications Skills
Interpersonal and communication skills encompass the verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic exchange of information. Physician assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients' families, physicians, professional associates, and other individuals within the health care system. Physician assistants are expected to:
- create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients
- use effective communication skills to elicit and provide information
- adapt communication style and messages to the context of the interaction
- work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
- demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety . accurately and adequately document information regarding care for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes
Patient care includes patient- and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management. Physician assistants must demonstrate care that is effective, safe, high quality, and equitable. Physician assistants are expected to:
- work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals to provide patient-centered care
- demonstrate compassionate and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families
- obtain essential and accurate information about their patients
- make decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and informed clinical judgment
- develop and implement patient management plans
- counsel and educate patients and their families
- perform medical and surgical procedures essential to their area of practice
- provide health care services and education aimed at disease prevention and health maintenance
- use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education
Professionalism is the expression of positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one's own. Physician assistants must acknowledge their professional and personal limitations. Professionalism also requires that PAs practice without impairment from substance abuse, cognitive deficiency or mental illness.
Physician assistants must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Physician assistants are expected to demonstrate:
- understanding of legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the appropriate role of the physician assistant
- professional relationships with physician supervisors and other health care providers
- respect, compassion, and integrity
- accountability to patients, society, and the profession
- commitment to excellence and on-going professional development
- commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices
- sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender, and abilities
- self-reflection, critical curiosity, and initiative
- healthy behaviors and life balance
- commitment to the education of students and other health care professionals
Practice-based Learning & Improvement
Practice-based learning and improvement includes the processes through which physician assistants engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, the medical literature, and other information resources for the purposes of self- and practice-improvement. Physician assistants must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices. Physician assistants are expected to:
- analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology in concert with other members of the health care delivery team
- locate, appraise, and integrate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients' health
- apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical literature and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness
- utilize information technology to manage information, access medical information, and support their own education
- recognize and appropriately address personal biases, gaps in medical knowledge, and physical limitations in themselves and others
Systems-based practice encompasses the societal, organizational, and economic environments in which health care is delivered. Physician assistants must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that balances quality and cost, while maintaining the primacy of the individual patient. PAs should work to improve the health care system of which their practices are a part. Physician assistants are expected to:
- effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems
- understand the funding sources and payment systems that provide coverage for patient care and use the systems effectively
- practice cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care
- advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
- partner with supervising physicians, health care managers, and other health care providers to assess, coordinate, and improve the delivery and effectiveness of health care and patient outcomes
- accept responsibility for promoting a safe environment for patient care and recognizing and correcting systems-based factors that negatively impact patient care
- apply medical information and clinical data systems to provide effective, efficient patient care
- recognize and appropriately address system biases that contribute to health care disparities
- apply the concepts of population health to patient care
Adopted 2012 by AAPA, ARC-PA, NCCPA, and PAEA
The following links will take you to each of the websites of the above organizations that oversee the competencies of the PA profession:
Note: The didactic schedule below applies to the class of 2019 and later. For earlier classes, please refer to this schedule.
The first two years (didactic phase) of the Physician Assistant program are presented as an integrated curriculum over the course of four semesters, consisting of the following:
|Fall Semester First Year|
|PHAS 600||Advanced Anatomy & Physiology||6|
|PHAS 610||Clinical Medicine I||5|
|PHAS 635||Behavioral Medicine||1|
|PHAS 660||PA Professional Issues||1|
|Spring Semester First Year|
|PHAS 611||Clinical Medicine II||5|
|PHAS 620||Pharmacology I||3|
|PHAS 622||Clinical Skills I||1|
|PHAS 630||Clinical Laboratory Medicine||3|
|PHAS 655||Epidemiology & Interpret of Med Literature||2|
|PHAS 675||Informatics in Medicine||1|
|Fall Semester Second Year|
|PHAS 606||Advanced Clinical Pathology||2|
|PHAS 613||Clinical Medicine III||4|
|PHAS 621||Pharmacology II||3|
|PHAS 623||Clinical Skills II||1|
|PHAS 650||Research I||1|
|PHAS 690||Health Promotion & Disease Prevention||2|
|Spring Semester Second Year|
|PHAS 614||Orthopedics & Rheumatology||2|
|PHAS 627||Clinical Skills III||2|
|PHAS 651||Research II||1|
|PHAS 665||Emergency Medicine||3|
|PHAS 670||Family Practice||2|
|PHAS 680||Clinical Decision Making||2|
|PHAS 695||Women's Health||2|
Administrative Policies and Procedures
Testing and Grading Policies
The courses offered in the didactic year include grading by written quizzes and examinations, oral and written case presentations, and performance of lab and physical diagnostic skills. Students will be provided with the criteria that will evaluate their performance with each syllabus. It is the student's responsibility to review the course curriculum and grading policies and ask for clarification of any points of concern during the first week of the course. Grades are also impacted by attendance and lateness as detailed in course syllabi. Please view Appendix I for the grading scale.
Implicitly, program syllabi also include the following statements:
- Any student who does not understand and/or accept the contents and terms of this syllabus must notify the course professor in writing within one (1) week after receiving this syllabus.
- Any student in this course who, because of a disability, needs an accommodation in order to complete the course requirements should have contacted the Counseling & Wellness Center who will then determine if an accommodation can be made. The center and the student will then notify the program Chair, Academic Coordinator, and course professors. It is up to the student to notify the center of any examination schedules.
- Attendance, examinations, tests, and assignments are all requirements for successful completion of this course.
- The terms of this syllabus, in particular the grading criteria, may be changed at the discretion of the course professor, in conjunction with approval of the program Chair.
Examinations will be administered with as much advance notice as possible. Date changes may occur, and students will be notified of the change(s) as soon as possible. Quizzes may be announced or unannounced. The course instructor may administer one or more quizzes as listed in the course syllabus. Quizzes are used as an evaluation tool to provide both students and faculty with information regarding students' understanding of course material and cognitive knowledge to date. Results are used to provide remedial instruction and for students to adjust their study methods.
The course instructor will schedule the time allotted for each exam. NYIT's Office of Academic Affairs requires that all final examinations be offered in the last week of finals, with the exception of courses consisting of multiple modules or sub-courses. The final examinations for multi-moduled courses will held at the end of each module.
Information regarding the exam format will be made available to the students. Extra time will be granted for students with a disability for written examinations only, and only if that disability has been appropriately evaluated and additional time suggested in compliance with ADA guidelines. All examinations requiring extended time will be taken in the Learning Center located in Harry Schure Hall. Unless instructed otherwise by the course instructor, it is the student's responsibility to inform the Wellness Center of their exam schedule.
Assigned seating during tests is at the discretion of the proctor or instructor. Once an instructor has announced that the time for an examination, quiz or practical exam is up, all students must cease any exam activities immediately. Failure to do so may result in the student receiving a grade of 0.
Nothing should be on the student's desk during an examination, including water bottles, electronic devices, books, bags or hats, unless the instructor has given permission. Students may not leave the room during an examination. If a student leaves the room he/she must hand in their examination before leaving and it will be considered completed. Any irregularities during an examination will be recorded by the instructor and brought to the attention of the student(s). The student may be referred to the Physician Assistant Academic Standing Committee (ASC) [previously known as Academic Review Committee] and/or a professional conduct report describing the incident may be added to the student's file.
It is the student's responsibility to put their names on the Scantron and test sheets. Students are also required to indicate the exam version on the Scantron, if one exists. Failure to do either may result in the student receiving an exam grade of 0. Students are also expected to put their names on the exam paper.
It is the student's responsibility to follow the correct procedure when completing the answer sheet to assure all information is accurately recorded for grading. Failure to follow the correct procedure may affect how the scanning machine reads and records the information, thereby affecting the student's grade. Student scores are determined solely by the marks read by the scanning equipment. Marks made by a writing instrument other than a No. 2 or an HB pencil may not be read by the scanning equipment. Marks that do not fill an oval completely may not be read by the scanning equipment. Random marks and marks that are not erased completely may be read as the intended answer.
Scantrons and all other answer sheets must be completed within the allotted exam time. Answers not marked onto the Scantron within the allotted exam time will not be accepted. Failure to comply with the time restriction is considered unprofessional behavior and will result in a penalty including a score of .0. on the quiz or exam. Any unprofessional behavior will result in a professional conduct report describing the incident being added to the student's file.
Examinations may be given electronically, and all of the above rules of conduct apply in these situations as well.
Review of Examinations
Quizzes and final examinations will be reviewed with the entire class as soon as feasible following administration of the exam. It is the responsibility of the student to attend these sessions. The review is not mandatory, however if a student decides not to attend, they forfeit their right to review the exam for any reason in the future, unless agreed to by the instructor. If an additional review is requested by a student who attended the original review session, s/he will make arrangements with the course instructor within seven days of distribution of the grades. If the college is officially closed, the time period will be extended once the college has re-opened. During this review, only questions or topics that were incorrect will be reviewed. End of rotation examinations will not be reviewed. Students will not be allowed to keep copies of the examination or their test answer forms. Students are not be allowed to have any pen/pencil, recording or photographic equipment during the review. Students may not remove, copy or make any notes of examinations at this or any other time. Doing so, including distributing examination questions in any format is unprofessional and can result in dismissal from the program. All Scantrons are kept in each student's file for seven years.
If a student is absent from an examination or the day before an examination due to illness or personal event, a note to the program Chair and course instructor is required within 24 hours, documenting the cause of the absence. Allowing the student to take a missed exam or quiz is at the discretion of the course instructor. The student will be given sufficient written notice as to the date and time of the makeup.
An excused absence is granted only for one of the following reasons or at the discretion of the program Chair (acceptable written documentation should be provided):
- A personal illness requiring medical attention. A signed medical note from a health care provider is required.
- An illness of an immediate family member. A signed medical note from a health care provider is required.
- A death in the immediate family. A signed medical note or obituary notice may be required.
Should a student not have an appropriate reason for an absence the day before or the day of an examination, or has not documented the absence to the satisfaction of the Instructor and program Chair, the student may not be given the option to take the exam, and a grade of "0" (zero) will be averaged into the final grade for the course.
Failure of Examination
Any student receiving a failing grade on an examination is advised to schedule a meeting with both their course instructor and faculty advisor. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the student with feedback on how their performance may be improved, identify any areas of weakness, and guide the student towards resources that may improve their performance. An academic contract that includes method(s) of improvement is to be documented on the program's student advisement form. It is the student's responsibility to contact the instructor and their advisor about any course in which they are in academic jeopardy, including failures of all examinations.
Failure of Course(s)
If a student fails a single course, the student will be given instructor-led, student-performed remediation followed by the opportunity to take a cumulative comprehensive examination (exceptions exist-see below). The exam will be developed and administered by the instructor of the course. This exam will be administered within two weeks after the student has been notified of the final grade for the course. If the student passes the examination, the minimum passing grade of a C will be awarded, regardless of the actual numerical grade achieved on the exam. The student may then continue to the next semester. Regardless of the student's GPA, the student will be placed on academic probation until the completion of the next semester. If the student fails another course s/he will not have the opportunity to take a comprehensive exam and will be automatically dismissed.
Clinical Medicine I, II, & III consist of sub-courses/modules. A student that fails a sub-course (grade below a C) will be required to remediate the sub-course. If the sub-course occurs at the end of the semester a grade of incomplete may need to be submitted. Remediation will consist of an instructor-directed and student-performed remediation. This will be followed by an examination developed and administered by the sub-course instructor. However, the final exam grade will not be changed. If the student fails the re-examination, s/he will be referred to the ASC with a recommendation for dismissal.
To maintain satisfactory academic standing as a Physician Assistant student, a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 must be maintained. The college identifies students that fall below a 3.0 GPA and places them on academic probation until the GPA reaches 3.0 or above. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation. Any student falling below 3.0 GPA must meet with their faculty advisor for counseling and the development of a remediation plan as needed.
- A student with a first semester GPA of 2.7 or less will be dismissed from the program.
- A student with less than a 3.0 semester GPA will be placed on academic probation.
- A student on probation for a semester GPA below 3.0 who receives 3.0 or higher in the subsequent semester will no longer be on probation as long as their cumulative GPA is equal to or greater than 3.0.
- A student receiving a semester GPA less than a 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0, will be dismissed from the program.
- Any student who has received a grade of C during a previous semester as a result of completing a cumulative comprehensive examination will be placed on academic probation regardless of cumulative GPA.
- A student on academic probation is not eligible for a comprehensive exam and is dismissed from the program if they fail a course.
- A student failing a second course at any point in the program will not be eligible to take the cumulative comprehensive exam in the second course/rotation s/he failed and is automatically dismissed from the program.
- A student failing two courses and/or Clinical Medicine sub-courses (and any combination thereof) in a single semester is not eligible to take a cumulative comprehensive exam and is automatically dismissed from the program.
- Students are required to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to progress to the clinical phase. If this is not achieved they will be dismissed from the program.
- Students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the clinical year. If this is not maintained they will be dismissed from the program. (See Clinical Year manual for policies.)
- A student must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to graduate from NYIT.
- Failure is deemed any grade less than a C.
Note: All courses must be passed before a student may continue in the program or progress to the next semester.
Grade Appeal/Change of Grade
Students seeking a grade appeal must do so as soon as possible after receipt of their course grade. The procedure for the grade appeal must include notifying in writing the course instructor and either the Academic Coordinator or the Clinical Coordinator as is appropriate, as well as the program Chair. A meeting with the course instructor should be carried out to determine if the instructor concurs with the appeal. If a meeting cannot be arranged or the instructor rejects the appeal, the Chair should be notified by email. See NYIT Student Handbook for further information on grade appeals and the grade appeal time-line. The Student Handbook is available for viewing online at http://www.nyit.edu/policies/
If the instructor agrees that the grade should be changed, he/she will process a Change of Grade Form in a timely manner. The instructor will sign off on the form and then send it to the Chair of the department to sign. Once both signatures have been obtained, a copy will be provided to the student, a copy placed in the student's permanent file, before the form is sent to the Registrar for the grade change to be processed.
The registrar imposes a strict time limit for all grade changes (one semester plus a summer semester after receiving the grade). It is the student's responsibility to keep a copy of the submitted grade change form and to follow up to ensure the change of grade is posted within the time limit. Any issues should be brought to the attention of the Chair within the prescribed time limit.
Attendance at all lectures, laboratories, medical facility assignments, clinical clerkships is mandatory unless the student receives written permission from the course instructor. Student attendance during the didactic and clinical years will be recorded and, along with class participation, are incorporated into the grading criteria. Please refer to each syllabus for specific details on attendance.
Vacations and time off are published in advance and students are expected to utilize this time for personal commitments. All absences for any other reason, regardless of length of time, must have the prior written approval of the course instructor(s). Requests will be considered on an individual basis and the student must receive documentation from the course instructor(s) for the absence to be considered excused.
An excused absence is granted only for one of the following reasons or at the discretion of the program Chair (acceptable written documentation should be provided):
- A personal illness requiring medical attention. A signed medical note from a health care provider is required.
- Illness of an immediate family member. A signed medical note from a health care provider is required.
- Death in the immediate family. A signed medical note or obituary notice may be required.
Any unreported absence or absence which does not fall into the above categories will be considered unexcused and will be recorded in the student's file.
Absences due to emergencies or illness must be reported within 24 hours in detail by email to the instructor(s) and copied to the program administrative assistant.
Absences on the first or last day of a clerkship, course, lecture series, or before a scheduled examination, break, vacation or weekend are considered unexcused unless prior written approval has been granted. Should such an absence occur as a result of a sudden unavoidable event, the program Chair and faculty must be notified as soon as possible and provided with an explanation for the absence.
A student, whose absence is determined to be unexcused in the above situations, will be required to provide a written explanation documenting the reason(s) for the absence, as well as why s/he did not report the absence to the program. The written explanation must be given to the Instructor of the course and the program Chair, who will discuss the situation with the student. The Instructor will then determine if there is sufficient cause for the matter to be referred to the Academic Standing Committee (ASC). The ASC will deliberate on what action should be taken in this matter and if the student should be placed on probation. Any subsequent unexcused absence may be grounds for dismissal from the program.
Students are responsible for all materials covered during class regardless of the reason for their absence or lateness.
If a student anticipates a future period in which they may be late to class, the student is obligated to provide a written request to the program Chair and instructor for the anticipated lateness. The anticipated lateness will not be considered excused unless the student receives written permission from the course instructor or program Chair.
Lateness is both a disturbance to the class and discourteous to both the instructor and classmates and should be avoided whenever possible. The program will be informed of the student's lateness, and a letter will be put in the student's file.
In all circumstances, it is the student's responsibility to make up any work that was covered during his/her absence. A student who is late more than 8 times during the 3 years of the program will be subject to probation and subsequent lateness may be reason for dismissal from the program. Individual faculty will report students that are late to the program office. Please refer to each individual syllabus for more detailed information on the consequences of lateness.
Absenteeism or Tardiness for Examinations
Should a student be late or absent on the day of any examination, the course instructor will decide upon the timing of and make-up format for that examination, if the student is eligible to do so. The student must submit written explanation to the course instructor and Chair within 24 hours whenever the student is absent from an examination or absent on the day before an examination. Depending on the nature of the absence, it is at the discretion of the course instructor if the student will be allowed to take the examination. If a make-up examination is not administered, the student will receive a grade of "0" (zero) which will be averaged into the student's grade for that course. The instructor will include a note in the student's office file regarding the absence.
If a student arrives late for a quiz or an examination, the ending time for the examination will not be extended and the student will not receive any additional time to complete the examination.
The student will be required to stop all exam-taking activities at the same time as the rest of the class.
- Computers, tablets and other electronic devices: Computers in the classroom environment should be used for note taking or instructor approved activities only. Web surfing, instant messaging, etc. are not allowed and will result in loss of computer and other electronic devices privileges for the student(s) involved and potentially the entire class.
- Breaks: Students should take advantage of formal breaks offered during lengthy classes. Only in rare instances should it be necessary for a student to leave and return to the classroom.
- Punctuality: Students should be on time for class and stay the entire session. If the student is going to be late or needs to leave early, arrangements should be made with the instructor prior to class. See absentee section for more information.
- Cell Phones and other electronic devices: All electronic devices must either be switched off, or kept on vibrate or the silent mode during class sessions. Text messaging or taking calls during class or hospital assignment is not allowed.
- Visitors: The program has a no guest policy. This is in keeping with the NYIT policy that states that students who are not enrolled in the course may not audit or attend classes.
- Conversations: If students have questions, they should ask them at appropriate times, and should avoid talking and participating in other conversations during classes.
- Recording: Recording any class or lecture is an exceptional event and should not be undertaken without prior and written permission of the professor. Permission to record must be sought from the professor well in advance and sufficient reason an documentation should be presented at the time of the request. Recording and transmission of classroom lectures and discussions by students is therefore not permitted unless written permission from the class instructor has been obtained and all students in the class, as well as guest speakers, have been informed that audio recording may occur. Recording of lectures or class presentations is solely authorized for the purposes of individual or group study with other students enrolled in the same class. Permission to allow the recording is not a transfer of any copyrights in the recording. The recording may not be reproduced or uploaded to publicly accessible web environments. Recordings, course materials, and lecture notes may not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes, for compensation, or for any other purpose other than study by students enrolled in the class. Public distribution of such materials may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law. Violation of these laws may subject a student to disciplinary action under the university's standards of conduct. Exceptions: It is not a violation of this policy for a student determined by the office of disability services(ODS) to be entitled to educational accommodations, to exercise any rights protected under section 504 of the rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with disabilities Act of 1990, including needed recording or adaptations of classroom lectures or materials for personal research and study. If you have a condition or a disability which necessitates recording of a class, please contact the Office of Disabilities for further help and assistance. The restrictions on third party web and commercial distribution apply in such cases.
The program utilizes the college's Blackboard system, Camtasia, Zoom, VoiceThread, ExamSoft and other technologies for many of the courses. Posting of PowerPoint lectures and other resources are provided at the instructor's discretion and are for student use only. Unauthorized use of course materials is prohibited.
Questions regarding technology should be referred to the Service Central helpline at 516.686.1400. For Internet connection problems on campus, the Service Central helpline must be called during the time and from the location that the problem is occurring. This will allow the technician to employ on-the-spot diagnostics in solving the issue.
Social Media Policy
The program is committed to supporting your right to interact knowledgeably and socially on the Internet through blogging and social media during non-school hours. Therefore, the program has adopted a social media policy that is consistent with current college guidelines and any applicable local, state, or federal law (see Appendix G for complete social media policy). Patient confidentiality is paramount and must always be considered when communicating on social media, and all laws must be respected.
In all social media interactions, students should protect the privacy, confidentiality and best interest of the department, the college, students, faculty, and staff, as well as affiliated institutions and must not reveal confidential information.
Students are reminded that they are not permitted to access social networking sites during class.
Students are not permitted to take photographs or video images during classes or within the classroom or labs. They are not permitted to upload or transmit any images of classes, faculty or students without the explicit written permission of the Chair or his/her designee.
The successful completion of an approved capstone graduate-level research project is a requirement of the Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Research courses are linked to the capstone project to provide students with the necessary foundation for identifying research topics to develop critical thinking and avoid logical fallacies; to enable students to present and defend an argument; to employ relevant examples to illustrate key points; to use citations appropriately; and comply with AMA format guidelines. Also, the research courses will provide an avenue for faculty mentorship of research projects and a forum for presentation of the completed projects with other students and faculty. The types of research project may include (but is not limited to) a group project involving a small team of students that identifies a health related problem and develops a resolution plan consisting of one or more ways to improve the health related problem; and the traditional thesis that covers a clinical problem with sufficient depth and breathe, and provides an up-to-date analysis of the data collected.
General Objectives/Clerkship Courses
The NYIT PA program Clinical Clerkships are designed to provide students with educational and clinical training in the core areas of medicine. It is organized to permit the greatest degree of educational exposure in practical, clinical environments as a means to develop general knowledge in areas of patient diagnosis and management. Students receive supervised clinical practice experiences in the following settings: outpatient, emergency department, inpatient and the operating room. Supervised clinical practice experiences also provide students with patients seeking medical care across the life span to include, neonates, infants, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly; women's health to include prenatal and gynecologic care; care for conditions requiring surgical management, including pre-operative, intraoperative, and post-operative care; and care for behavioral and mental health conditions. The Clinical Coordinator(s), Director of Clerkship Education, and faculty will conduct one or more clinical clerkship orientation workshop(s) for students prior to the start of clinical clerkships.
NYIT is dedicated to educating physician assistants in primary care. The curriculum is designed to give students basic medical knowledge in diverse clinical areas. This "liberal arts" approach to medical education provides the necessary foundation to excel in all areas of medicine.
The final year of the Physician Assistant program consists of 48 weeks of clinical rotations. Students are assigned to designated preceptors at various clinical sites so that they may further their didactic knowledge with practical hands-on clinical exposure. Students must notify the Clinical Coordinator, Director of Clerkship Education and Preceptor of any absences. The clinical component requires the student to complete their training in the following areas:
|Course Number||Clinical Clerkships||No. of Weeks|
|PHAS 700||Family Practice||8|
|PHAS 701||Internal Medicine/Geriatrics||8|
|PHAS 703||Emergency Medicine||4|
|PHAS 704||Obstetrics & Gynecology||4|
Clinical rotations for the final year commence shortly after completing the second year of the Didactic Phase of the program. Each student takes the same core eight- and four-week rotations at various NYIT PA program affiliated medical facilities, along with a single four-week elective selected by the student with advisement by the clinical faculty. In addition, on-campus education programs and evaluations occur monthly during the clerkship year, following the completion of each rotation. Faculty will meet with students at clerkship sites periodically during this year.
Additional educational and professional activities may also be scheduled. If students are given the option of attending professional activities during clerkships, they may not miss clerkships unless they are attending and fully participating in the professional activity. Doing so may result in failing the clerkship for unprofessional behavior.
Please see the NYIT PA program Senior-Year Clerkship Manual for other clerkship year policies.
Summative evaluations are administered to each student within four months of program completion to assess clinical knowledge, patient care skills, interpersonal skills, and professionalism in order to determine minimal competencies for clinical practice. The procedure for the summative examination is as follows:
1. An objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is carried out for each student consisting of case scenarios using New York Institute of Technology standardized patients based in the Institute for Clinical Competence (ICC). Standardized patients are hired from the community and have received training in simulating a medical condition and documenting student performance. The cases chosen are selected to reflect the NCCPA blueprint and scored to evaluate the students' clinical knowledge, patient care skills, and interpersonal skills. An internet-based streaming digital audio-video system is utilized, allowing the students to immediately observe and review their interactions. This technology is also utilized by faculty to assess student and standardize patient performance.
Once the encounter is terminated, a case-specific rubric is completed by the standardized patient assessing the competency of the student's history taking, their physical examination skills, as well as their interpersonal skills. This results in a data sheet and three scores, for each of the cases. The scores for both history taking and the physical examination are provided as percent correct ranging from 0-100% and an average score for interpersonal skills is provided with scores ranging from one to nine. A student will pass the OSCE if both their history and physical scores are equal to or greater than 70%; and if their interpersonal skills score is equal to or greater than 5 in a case.
Any student who falls below benchmark on the OSCE will have their video reviewed by their faculty advisor and an additional faculty member for inter-reader reliability and a remediation plan of the required components will be initiated. Data of all encounters will be evaluated by the faculty advisor to determine which case(s) were problematic for the student. If a student is below benchmark on the history taking component of the OSCE, the questions that were not asked by the student will be reviewed and discussed. The student will be instructed to review Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking as well as read about that specific medical topic in the text books which correspond to the courses in which the topic was taught. If the student is below benchmark on the physical portion of the OSCE, the same procedure used for history taking remediation will occur and the advisor will review the psychomotor skills that were missed or below standard. The student will be instructed to review Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking text and corresponding videos available in the library to further reinforce those skills, as well as read about that specific medical topic in the text books which correspond to the courses in which the topic was taught. If the interpersonal skills section of the OSCE is below benchmark, again the video and data for the encounters will be reviewed and the faculty advisor will address the deficiencies noted as well as provide specific suggestions as to how the student can improve his or her interpersonal skills. Students will also be instructed to review Bates regarding interviewing skills, and review Behavioral Medicine lectures and readings. Once the remediation plan is completed, the student will revisit the ICC lab for further testing and repeat this process until they successfully complete evaluation.
2. Students' professionalism will be assessed in a real-world setting by using the Preceptor Evaluation of Clinical Skills (PECS) form. Each student has an evaluation form completed by their preceptor at the completion of each clinical practice experience. This form contains an area that addresses professional behavior and attitudes, specifically noting the students' attitudes toward self-learning and work, their interpersonal interaction with patients and other health care providers, and their professional judgment. Scores range from fail, pass good, excellent to outstanding. Scores will be an average of those PECS evaluations performed within 4 months of graduation. Students receive mid- rotation evaluations which are similar to the PECS form which facilitates early identification of unprofessional behavior and an opportunity for faculty intervention. Remediation occurs by the student meeting with the Clinical Coordinator and their faculty advisor to discuss any issues that arise and to reinforce the professional behavior which is expected of them.
3. A 100-question comprehensive multiple choice examination will be given to the students for the written component of the summative evaluation. The questions provided will reflect the 24 courses completed during the didactic phase as well as the required clinical clerkships. Questions will be selected to reasonably mimic the NCCPA blueprint exam content percentages. A student must answer 70% of these questions correctly in order to pass this component of the summative evaluation.
If a student is below benchmark on the written component they will meet with the clinical coordinator and be given each incorrect question's content, subject and task area. The student will be instructed to review these topics in the text books which correspond to the courses in which the topics were taught. The student will be informed of the date and time when they will be given an opportunity to take another 100 question comprehensive multiple choice examination following the same procedure as above. If a student fails a second time, they will be referred to the ASC.
Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid Policies
Tuition and Fees
The tuition and fees are as listed in the NYIT College catalog. NYIT reserves the right to change tuition and fees at any time without notice.
The total estimated cost of books, medical equipment, supplies and transportation to clerkships for the 3-year program is $7,600.
Professionalism and advocacy are key components to successful students and graduates. Students are required to become members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA), both for professional reasons as well as to allow opportunity for significant scholarships otherwise not available.
Students are provided with malpractice insurance by the college with minimums of $1,300,000/$3,900,000.
Each student is required to have a cell phone for clinical clerkships.
Students must enter the program with a valid AHA Basic Cardiac Life Support or American Red Cross for the professional rescuer card. Students will be required to successfully complete both Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification and Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) recertification during their second didactic year. The program will attempt to get a discounted fee charged to students for the certification and re- certification courses.
Refer to the Financial Aid website for information about government sources of financial aid: http://nyit.edu/admissions/financial_aid. Further advice may be obtained from counselors in the Financial Aid Office. The NYIT Catalog provides information regarding various scholarships available to qualifying students. For more detailed information about scholarships, or answers to questions about financial aid, contact the Financial Aid Office or refer to their website: http://nyit.edu/admissions/scholarshipsgrants. Information regarding professional scholarships may be obtained from the program office.
To receive Federal Financial Aid and Institutional Funds administered by the Office of Financial Aid at the New York Institute of Technology, students must maintain measurable academic progress towards degree program completion. Students who do not meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress will not be eligible for federal or institutional financial aid until such time as they have successfully appealed their Unsatisfactory Academic Progress (UAP) status and can regain eligibility by meeting the standards of this SAP policy or by following a prescribed Academic Plan as determined in consultation with an Academic School Designee. The student may appeal the suspension of their financial aid eligibility resulting from failure to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria by submitting the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, along with supporting documentation by the appropriate deadline date. Appeals received after the deadline date will not be considered. Only appeals with documented extenuating circumstances will be considered. Decisions regarding completed appeals should be available within two weeks. The student will be notified by mail and e-mail at their NYIT e-mail address. An appeal decision may impose limitations upon aid eligibility and/or future minimum academic standards. A copy of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy can be found at the NYIT Office of Financial Aid website at: http://nyit.edu/admissions/satisfactory_academic_progress.
NYIT holds its commencement exercises in May of each academic year and PA students are scheduled to complete the program prior to commencement. Students who do not complete the program until after commencement will be eligible for a subsequent graduation date. Graduation is dependent upon the successful completion of all the program course work. It is the student's responsibility to review their degree audits each semester to ensure that all courses completed and the appropriate grades have been documented on the degree audit. Degree audits, also referred to as Academic Advisement Reports (AAR), can be accessed online through each student's MyNYIT Student Center page. Students are advised to print and keep a hardcopy of their AAR at the end of every semester and to immediately notify the program of any discrepancies. Refer to the manual for further guidance.
The program and the Registrar review all student records prior to notifying the State Education Department of the student's graduation. Any deficiencies must be reconciled with NYIT before any student records are forwarded to the State Education Department. The Registrar will not process any licensing/certification documents or confirm your graduation if there are outstanding fees or bills in your bursar account.
In order to graduate, students must fulfill the following requirements:
- A cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0;
- Successful completion of all didactic courses;
- Successfully pass all clinical clerkships;
- Completion and approval of master's project;
- Satisfactory standard of professional conduct;
- A completed application for graduation must be completed on NYIT Connect; and,
- Bursar account clearance.
Further information regarding graduation procedures can be found on the registrar website: http://catalog.nyit.edu/policies_and_rules/academic_policies#graduation
State licensing and NCCPA exam
After students have successfully completed all course requirements of the program, the program will assist in completing the required state(s) licensing paperwork for the student's state(s) of choice. It is the student's responsibility to provide such licensing paperwork to the program, in a timely manner that takes into consideration the necessary processing time. It is also the student's responsibility to fully investigate their state licensing requirements (as outlined by that state(s)' licensing board), and to complete such requirements. Most state licensing boards provide guidelines on their websites.
Licensing requires obtaining a passing score on the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE). The NCCPA examination is the current examination accepted by the NYSED and all other jurisdictions within the United States. To register for the PANCE, students must provide the following information to the program Chair: the student's name (exactly as indicated on the picture ID the student will be using for the board exam); and birthdate. Students will be notified if additional information is needed. Using the information provided, an account will be created by NCCPA that will allow the student to register for the PANCE.
Job Placement Information
The program provides continuous and ongoing professional development. Prior to graduation and during the final year the PA program will provide a series of lectures to the students on career development including items such as resume writing, job hunting, interviewing skills, contract negotiations, and other issues impacting successful employment as a physician assistant.
The PA program maintains a job listing for PA student and graduate use. Jobs are posted online: at https://sites.google.com/a/nyit.edu/pa-jobs/.
Letters of Recommendation for Employment Prospects
The following constitute general guidelines for Letters of Recommendation:
- Commonly a total of two (2) letters including the program chairperson's letter are sufficient.
- Letters of recommendation are provided at the discretion and permission of the faculty and program chair.
- Letters from clinical site chairpersons, section heads, and well-known attending physicians or physician assistants carry more weight. These should be pursued wherever possible.
Student Health Information
Annual Physician Examination and Immunization Documentation
All Physician Assistant students are required to have the following documents on file at the program office:
- Annual Health Assessment Form (Appendix D) – This document must be updated annually.
- Titers and Vaccination Form (Appendix E) – This document must be submitted upon entering the program.
- Titers providing proof of protection and/or non-responder status for Hepatitis A,B, & C, MMR and Varicella, and others as may be required by clinical clerkships from time to time.
It is recommended that all students get a personal health care provider in the area to provide basic medical needs. The principal faculty, program director and the medical director must not participate as health care providers for students in the program except in the case of emergencies.
All student health forms will be kept on file by the program, but it is recommended that students retain a copy for their own records. Additionally, some clinical affiliate sites require written health records, titers and immunization documentation for a student to utilize that site. Some clinical affiliate sites may have additional requirements beyond those of NYIT or the program. For both the students' and patients' health protection, students are required to provide adequate evidence of their current immunization status. All health records provided will be kept strictly confidential.
Students must carry a health insurance policy for the full period of time that they are enrolled in the professional phase of the program. Verification of health insurance must be provided to the program. A copy of the health insurance card will be kept on file in the student's office record.
Should a student be exposed to a blood borne pathogen, students are responsible for any and all of the costs associated with exposure. Students should, of course, utilize their health insurance for this purpose. However, students may elect to purchase health insurance that would not necessarily cover any or all of these costs and would then be responsible for all costs personally.
Students health insurance options include obtaining coverage independently through plans available in the marketplace, through their parents, through Medicaid, or through the Aetna plan made available to NYIT students. To obtain health insurance through the college, please refer to this Wellness Center website: http://nyit.edu/administrative_offices/health_insurance.
However, this Aetna plan is not the most affordable, therefore students are encouraged to explore their options.
Students are covered by NYIT malpractice insurance: Medical Professional Liability in the amount of $1,300,000, per occurrence and $3,900,000 aggregate.
Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Reinstatement Policies
Leave of Absence
Absences resulting from an unanticipated illness, accident or death in the immediate family will be excused provided the student informs the program Chair soon as possible after the event. It is the student's responsibility to inform the clinical preceptor and the clinical site of his or her absence during the third year of the program.
A student may miss no more than a cumulative total of two weeks during the professional phase of the program. Absences in excess of 2 consecutive classes must be discussed with the instructor.
Should a student miss two or more weeks from a clinical clerkship they will have to repeat that clerkship prior to graduation. Students who must be away from the program for longer than a two- week period may not be allowed to continue the didactic or clinical year and might be decelerated to the following academic year. Any student who is decelerated must complete all coursework pertaining to the semester curriculum.
All examinations and coursework missed during a leave of absence must be satisfactorily made up by the student to remain in good academic standing with the program.
In the event a leave of absence becomes necessary, and is granted to the student; any tuition refund will be based on NYIT's refund policy and the student providing all necessary paperwork and notifications in a timely manner.
Withdrawal Policies: (see also section XIV of the NYIT Student Handbook)
A student may withdraw from the program for medical or personal reasons. It is strongly recommended for the student to consult with the Registrar, Financial Aid, and the Bursar's Office prior to initiating a withdrawal. Questions regarding financial liability should be explored before submitting paperwork to the PA program office. A student requesting a withdrawal from the program should notify the program Chair in writing, stating the reason(s) for his/her request. If a student in good standing withdraws from the program, the student must complete a Withdrawal Form and have it signed by the program chair or his designee. Further information regarding withdrawing can be found in the instructions of the Request To Withdraw From College form.
Students should not assume that filing a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal Form implies that the request has been granted. They must receive official notification of approval from the Registrar and program.
The date of withdrawal is computed from the date that both signatures are affixed to the withdrawal form. Dependent upon the date of withdrawal, a student may be entitled to a refund of tuition. The refund policy is subject to change by the institution. Please see college catalog for the current policy.
Students in good academic standing who have withdrawn from the program may apply for reinstatement. They will be readmitted if the Chair concludes that the reasons for withdrawal have been satisfactorily resolved. Students who are failing one or more courses at the time of the withdrawal and receive a WF are considered not in good academic standing. This may result in their request for reinstatement being denied. Reinstatement may only occur if the student's last attended program course has been no greater than one year before his/her expected reinstatement date and the initial withdrawal was not for academic or professional misconduct reasons.
Students returning from the withdrawal period must return at the start of the semester and register for all courses for that semester. No more than one approved withdrawal is granted by the program. Students who are reinstated will be subject to those rules and regulations in effect as published in the Student Handbook at the time of their reinstatement.
Dress Code/Uniform Policies
Personal appearance is extremely important in facilitating acceptance by patients, their families, and other health professionals. A professional appearance is proven to aid in establishing patient confidence and trust, even for a clinician with limited experience. The poor appearance of one individual is often generalized to the entire group. Students are expected to appear well groomed at all times and observe customary standards of hygiene and professional attire. The program designates mandatory dress as follows for both the didactic and clinical years:
White Jackets & Identification Badges
- A clean short white consultation jacket
- The NYIT PA program arm patch will be affixed to the left sleeve of the jacket, centered and 1 1/2 inch below the shoulder/sleeve stitching seam. Two patches are initially supplied by the program, but additional patches can be provided at the student's expense.
- NYIT photo identification badges will be worn at all times while on clinical clerkships, while in the Standardized Patient Lab and during practical examinations.
- Facilities may require additional site- or facility-specific identification to be worn.
- A program name badges will be provided and must be worn while on campus and while on clinical clerkships. Additional or replacement name badges are provided at the student's expense. Students are to wear, prominently displayed, identification badges/cards in accordance with the program and facility rules.
- Shoes must be clean and in good condition. Women's heels should be no higher than three inches. Open toed shoes, sandals, or shoes that will slip off the feet and pose a safety problem are not acceptable in any setting. Male students must wear dress socks with shoes. Athletic shoes and socks are prohibited.
- Prescription glasses, protective eyewear, reading glasses, and contact lenses are the only eyewear permitted while in class or on rotation. Novelty contacts and sunglasses are not permitted.
- Hats, scarves, or head coverings of any type are not permitted unless necessary for medical or religious reasons.
- Extremely brief or revealing clothing is not permitted and proper undergarments should be worn. Pants should be worn at the natural waistline, and undergarments should not be visible. Shirts, tops, blouses, and dresses should have a collar and sleeves. The length of skirts, dresses, etc. must not be shorter than three inches above the top of the knee. All shirts, tops, and blouses must either overlap the bottom garment or be tucked inside the bottom garment. Jeans, sweat pants, leggings, Crocs © , sneakers are not permitted at any time. Scrubs may be worn during lab as permitted by course instructor.
- Male students will wear ties with collared shirts.
- Female students may wear slacks or skirts. Modesty with regard to necklines and hemlines should be considered at all times and cleavage should not be shown.
- All students should consider the image projected to patients and others with regard to hairstyle and length. Beards and moustaches may be worn trimmed.
- Excessive or loose jewelry including piercings are a safety risk for students and the patient, and their use is discouraged during any clinical site participation.
- Scrubs may be provided by the clinical facilities on services that require such attire.
- Fingernails should be kept clean and trimmed, and not exceed 1/4 inch past the end of the finger, as appropriate for health care professionals. Artificial nails/wraps or acrylic overlays are not permitted. Polish may be worn if neat and not chipped. Multicolored nail polish and designer paintings/decals are inappropriate.
- Tattoos, body piercings, and body markings must be concealed at all times.
- Students should not wear excessive perfume, cologne, aftershave or powder.
- Hair longer than shoulder length (male and female) must be pulled back and contained in a suitable manner. Hair should be clean and always arranged so as not to interfere with patient care activities.
- Students should have good daily hygiene that includes clean teeth, hair, clothes, and body, including use of deodorant. Clothing should be clean, pressed, and in good condition.
The following types of apparel are not permissible:
Ripped or torn jeans/dungarees, leggings, sweat pants, shorts, culottes, knit pants, miniskirts, Crocs, sneakers, tank tops, halters, T-shirts, tennis shoes, open toed shoes, sandals. Scrubs are not to be worn outside of designated hospital areas. Scrubs and special clothing are permitted in the cadaver lab and during other labs when specified by program faculty.
Dress-down days may be granted from time-to-time at the discretion of the program chair. Dress- down implies neat, clean, appropriate business casual attire. This would include golf shirts and khaki slacks for men and women. Items such as T-shirts, jeans, sweat pants, yoga pants, etc. are not appropriate.
Students who do not comply with the dress code may face dismissal from the class or clerkship site. They will be expected to return the same day with proper attire. All missed time must be made up.
Enforcement of the dress code is at the sole discretion of the faculty and/or the Chair.
NOTE: The faculty and clinical preceptors can dismiss students from clinic sites for failure to comply with this dress code.
Student Academic and Personal Counseling Services
The PA program faculty and staff have a vested interest in the success of each student's educational process. To ensure that all students reach their greatest professional and academic potential, the program personnel and students have the responsibility to communicate regularly with each other. Whenever a student has a concern, s/he should contact a staff or faculty member to resolve any problems as soon as possible.
Students who require advisement should make appointments with the assigned faculty advisor. Students are expected to have developed good study habits and time management skills prior to the professional phase of the program. The program in conjunction with the Learning Center will support student study skills and time management skill development by offering seminars as well as tutoring support if feasible for all students. There may, however, be instances in which students do require additional help to understand various concepts, and additional guidance may be necessary. Should this be the case, students are advised to speak to instructors and/or faculty when the need for assistance arises, and not wait until the time the examination is given.
Each student will be assigned a faculty advisor, who will be available for guidance. It is the student's responsibility to meet with an advisor periodically during each semester to discuss the student's progress, but especially when the student's progress is in question or in jeopardy. Students are strongly encouraged to speak with their faculty advisor should the student be encountering any academic or personal difficulties. Should a student fail an examination, the student must contact his/her advisor to schedule an individual appointment to review the student's performance on the exam and identify problem areas in test-taking or study habits. An advisement form will be completed and signed by the advisor at the end of the counseling session. These forms will become part of the student's file kept in the PA Offices.
The PA program has developed a proactive student advisement process that requires students to meet at least once per semester with an advisor to discuss students' strengths and weaknesses and overall progress in the program. It is the student's responsibility to ensure the meeting takes place. Areas for student improvement will be identified and a summary of suggested actions recorded on the Student Advisement Form.
In addition to educational counseling, the faculty of the Physician Assistant program has the ability to provide students with individual information in the areas of career counseling and personal problems. Advisors who assess that a student is in need of professional or personal counseling or special services (such as testing for learning disabilities), will make this concern known to the program Chair immediately. The program Chair will then make recommendations and referrals on an individual basis.
The faculty is usually available before and after classes, during office hours and by appointment. Unless a course instructor provides his/her telephone number, it is inappropriate for a student to call him or her at home. If a student must reach an instructor on the instructor's personal phone, the department staff will serve as an intermediary.
Problems in a student's personal life can impinge upon studies and affect the student's ability to reach their professional and academic goals. The student, however, must confront their problems, and not ignore them. Students may, at times, have difficulty recognizing when professional counseling is in order. To that end, the following is a partial listing of behaviors students should recognize which may indicate the need for counseling:
- Becoming unusually demanding or dependent on others.
- Unable to concentrate, study, sleep.
- Becoming unnecessarily preoccupied with external affairs (money, housing, personal relationships).
- Resorting to inappropriate behaviors such as outbursts, continuous daydreaming, crying, and inappropriate speech.
- Resorting to drug use and/or alcohol usage as coping strategies.
- Developing speech impediments, or becoming disorganized.
- Excessive lateness or absences from school.
- Losing interest in personal grooming or personal hygiene.
- Developing inconsistencies between classroom performance and test performance, showing marked decline in performance.
- Exhibiting limited participation in class, with marked inhibition and withdrawal from social circumstances.
Students are advised to meet with their faculty advisor as soon as possible in the event they face any academic or personal problems. It is only when there is good communication between the faculty and student that problems can be swiftly and effectively resolved, enabling the student to reach their goal of becoming a successful Physician Assistant. (See section XIV, Student Services and General Information below for listing of support services.)
The Learning Center
The Learning Center
Harry Schure Hall, Room 215
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Learning Center provides individual and small-group tutoring, and skills-based workshops to all NYIT students who request academic support. In addition, the Learning Center offers support services open to the entire college community, including periodic seminars on learning strategies, test taking and time management. The goal of the Learning Center is to help students become independent learners and take responsibility for their education.
Qualified PA students may be accepted as paid tutors by the Learning Center. Accepted students should notify the program that they are available for tutoring.
Counseling and Wellness Services
Counseling and Wellness Services provides free confidential counseling for students who may be experiencing personal, academic, or social concerns. Professional counselors assist students in developing greater self-understanding as well as problem-solving strategies to enhance personal development. Individual and group counseling services are learning-based, short-term, and focus on assisting students to develop self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-identity to manage emotions and solve problems in their academic, vocational, personal, and social lives. The centers provide a holistic approach to wellness education, promoting individual and community wellness through programs and outreach activities. Special programs, workshops, and time-limited groups are offered on topics such as test anxiety, interpersonal skill building, personal growth, alcohol and other drugs, relationships, wellness, human sexuality, and other personal concerns. The Counseling and Wellness Centers provide resource information and referral services to hospitals, clinics, and private practitioners when more specialized assistance is needed.
You are welcomed to visit a campus counseling center and meet with a counselor in person to discuss whatever is on your mind. E-mail Disclaimer: The centers cannot do personal counseling through e-mail. If you want to receive counseling, call or visit their offices to make an appointment with a counselor. Appointments are available both days and evenings.
All counseling services are free of charge, including individual and group sessions, crisis intervention, resource and referral information, workshops, and lectures. Students may be referred to off-campus services for specific therapeutic needs. The Counseling and Wellness Centers abide by strict professional ethics and laws protecting confidential information. Your confidentiality is protected within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Certain limitations to confidentiality do exist if a counselor has a reason to believe that there is imminent danger to you or to others. These exceptions are extremely rare. All policies related to confidentiality are discussed with you at the time of your first appointment.
Office of Counseling and Wellness Services
Student Activity Center, Room 307 (3rd Floor)
Old Westbury: 516.686.7976
Office of Career Services
Office of Career Services is a resource for educational and employment services. Career counseling, vocational testing and individual resume assistance is also available. Visit the Career Services website for more information.
Office of Career Services
Old Westbury, Salten Hall, Room 3: 516.686.7527
Manhattan, 26 W. 61st St., Room 211: 212.261.1537
The PA program also maintains a listing of jobs forwarded by employers and recruiters. Please visit: https://sites.google.com/a/nyit.edu/pa-jobs/.
Student and Professional Organizations
The Physician Assistant program highly recommends that students become involved in the Physician Assistant Student Society (PASS) at NYIT. Students are also encouraged to become actively involved in the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA) and the New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA).
Students are literally the future of the profession, and it is through these organizations that students can remain currently apprised of the progress and current issues of their profession. Professional associations set standards for the profession and work for the practitioner in a number of ways: attendance at professional meetings, advocacy, lobby activities, continuing education, information, consultation, publications, product discounts, grants, loans, and scholarships and the opportunity for professional growth and recognition. Students also benefit from receiving the various professional publications such as the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants as a result of their membership.
Scholarships are also available, on a competitive basis, through the New York State Society of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants, as well as a myriad of other professional organizations.
NYIT Physician Assistant Student Society (PASS)
The purpose of the Student Society is multifold. It exists to create a pre-professional organization to enhance professional growth. It serves to act as a forum for students to express their views and ideas. It supports active participation of PA students at both the state and national levels, the New State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). Participation in the society secures the opportunity to develop solutions to problems that are broad based on a student level and motivate students to further promote their medical education and experience. It seeks to cultivate and promote leadership qualities in the PA community. It provides the opportunity to establish the beginnings of a network of contacts to be taken to the professional arena after graduation.
The society stresses the importance of giving back at the community level by improving health care in the local community. This takes on many forms such as fundraising, blood drives, and others. The society honors the academic traditions of medicine as well as affirms the sound and ethical responsibilities and practices of the PA profession.
Student Society Officers
- President: Sonia Nicola
- Vice President: Morgan D’Antuono
- Treasurer: Danielle Augugliaro
- Secretary: Kaitlin Allsop
- AOR Representative: Shannon Winker
- NYSSPA Representative: Adam Fenton
- Director of External Affairs: Michelle Mellina
Class representatives (elected each fall)
- Class of 2017: - Meghan Nilan (pending Fall – 2016 elections)
- Class of 2018: Pending Fall 2016 elections
- Class of 2019: Pending Fall 2016 elections
BYLAWS OF Physician Assistant Student Society of Old Westbury
Article I. Name
The name of our student society is PA Student Society of Old Westbury herein referred to as the student society.
Article II. Purpose
The purpose of the student society shall be to serve as the official organization for the PA students of New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), to promote: (a) academic achievement and clinical excellence, (b) the NYIT PA program, and (c) the physician assistant as a member of the health care delivery team.
Article III. Membership
Section 1. All physician assistant students enrolled in the NYIT PA program shall be eligible for membership in the student society.
Section 2. Active members shall be defined as full-time students, paying dues if applicable, and retaining voting privileges. Inactive members shall be defined as students who have left the program in good standing, show continued interest in the student society, but are ineligible to vote.
Section 3. Students leaving the program for any reason may apply to the society's board to retain membership in the student society for the remainder of the current academic year. These individuals shall be designated as inactive members.
Article IV. Dues and Fees
Section 1. The student society officers shall establish the annual dues during the first board meeting of the academic year. Dues shall not exceed $5.00 annually.
Article V. Officers and Their Duties
Section 1. The officers of the student society shall be: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, a NYSSPA student representative, AOR representative, AOR alternate, director of external affairs, and any other positions that the student society deems necessary. All officers and representatives/delegates must be student members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). In addition, there shall be a faculty advisor.
Section 2. The President shall preside over the monthly meetings, not less than four annually, set the meetings' agendas, and submit the same to the secretary for copies and distribution, assign the activities of the committees, and keep the membership informed of the activities of these committees.
The Vice-President shall assist the president in the management of the society. The VP will assume the role of president in their absence.
The NYSSPA Student Representative shall be the liaison between the student society and NYSSPA. The student will communicate with the NYSSPA Student Board members for updates and to share information. The NYSSPA Student Representative. will be responsible to chair the society's NYSSPA Presidential Charity committee.
The Director of External Affairs shall coordinate activities and public relations efforts between the society and external groups, including but not limited to other medical professionals, such as physician, osteopath, physical therapist, occupational therapist, nurse, and speech therapist; city, county, state, and national organizations; and other community-related organizations. The DEA shall convey relevant issues to the SAAAPA directors of external affairs.
The Assembly of Representatives (AOR) Representative shall be responsible for the distribution of all Student Academy information to his/her program. The AOR representative will serve as point of contact for the Student Academy Board of Directors and committees. The AOR representative shall attend the annual meeting of the AOR held at the AAPA annual conference. The AOR rep will vote to elect new officers of the Student Academy, to establish and amend policy of the Student Academy, and to conduct business as necessary. The Assembly of Representatives (AOR) Alternate Representative will assume all responsibilities of the AOR rep in their absence.
The Secretary shall be responsible for minutes of meetings, preparation for any AOR resolutions to be submitted, filing any legally required documents.
The Treasurer shall be responsible for the budget, management of organizational financial assets (in conjunction with the associate treasurer).
The Faculty Advisor shall provide insight and direction into the proper, ethical and professional standards of the physician assistant. They shall act as the Associate Treasurer. He/she shall have no voting privilege.
Article VI. Elections
Section 1. Offices to be Filled – Elected offices of the society include Vice president, Secretary, Treasurer, NYSSPA student representative, Director of External Affairs, Assembly of Representatives (AOR) representative, and Assembly of Representatives (AOR) representative alternate.
Section 2. Terms of Office – Each officer, with the exception of the Vice President, shall serve a one-year term. The Vice President shall serve two years, one as Vice-President, then one as President. The AOR Alternate shall be the 2nd highest vote recipient for the AOR representative position. The term of office begins July 1.
Section 3. Eligibility and Qualifications of Candidates — All student society officer nominees shall be active members of the student society and the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Candidates for Vice president must be completing their first year.
Nominees must submit in writing their intent to run for office along with a personal profile to the faculty advisor by April 1st. The profile may not exceed 1 page and may not have external links.
Nominee profiles shall be distributed to all members of the student society no later than one week prior to the election date.
Section 4. Time of Elections – Elections will be held no later than the final callback day annually.
The faculty advisor shall be responsible for distributing the link to the electronic ballet and tabulating ballots. The voting period shall end at 5:00pm on the last scheduled callback day.
Tabulation shall be done promptly and the elections results posted. In event of a tie, a run-off election shall be held as soon as reasonable.
Section 5. Once elections are completed, the student society online registration form must be completed and returned to the AAPA national office within 30 days by the faculty advisor.
Section 6. Vacancies in office – In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the vice president shall become the president to serve the unexpired term. In the event of a vacancy in any other position, the new office shall be elected by a majority vote of the remaining PA Student Society of Old Westbury Board of Directors from a slate of qualified candidates prepared by the Board of Directors. The terms of office shall expire June 30, except for the Vice President, who will then complete the following year as President.
Article VII. Officer Training
It will be the responsibility of the outgoing officers to train and familiarize the new officers with their duties and responsibilities and the materials needed to perform their jobs. Training must be completed within 30 days of the officer elections.
Article VIII. Removal of elected or appointed position
Section 1. Candidates for elected and appointed leadership positions must be in good standing at the time of election or appointment. Once elected or appointed, all students holding leadership positions must remain "a student in good standing" (as defined by the PA program i.e., not on academic or other form of probation). If a student is "not in good standing," the student is no longer eligible to serve.
Section 2. Special Meeting for the removal of an officer
- A meeting to remove an officer may be requested by: (a) a majority of the elected officers, (b) a majority of the members in any class, or (c) the faculty advisor. This will be the only action addressed at the special meeting.
- A minimum of seven days notice must be provided prior to the meeting
- A two-thirds majority of those present will be required to remove an officer.
Article IX. Meetings
Section 1. The student society may meet monthly, at least four times, during the academic year for the transaction of society business. The date and location of these meetings will be decided by the board and announced to the student membership.
Section 2. Additional meetings may be called at the discretion of the president provided no less than one week's notice has been given to the membership in writing and/or e-mail.
Section 3. The elected leadership shall meet at least once in the month of May to set a calendar of events for the next leadership year.
Section 4. The Student Society shall at its September meeting present the calendar and report on the committee opportunities.
Section 5. If there the president determines there is no business to discuss the monthly meeting maybe canceled with the approval of the elected board and the Faculty Advisor.
Article X. Committees
Section 1. The standing committees of this society shall be the Outreach (Public Relations Committee), Senior Event, Apparel, NYSSPA Presidential Charity, Support our Troops, Holiday Toy Drive, Food Drive, AAPA Host City Campaign, and the Fundraising Committee. Other committees shall be formed as necessary by the board with an established function and an established time of dissolution.
Section 2. Each committee chair shall be appointed by the president.
Section 3. All committees shall report their proceedings to the board at the monthly meetings and submit a written report at the end of the leadership year.
Article XI. Amendments and Parliamentary Procedure
Section 1. The Parliamentary source used by the student society shall be Sturgis's Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. In all proceedings, the constitution and bylaws of the student society shall take precedence.
Section 2. The constitution and bylaws may be amended by a majority vote, provided all amendments proposed are submitted to the president and presented to the membership at the preceding month's meeting and are in turn submitted to all members at least two weeks prior to the vote.
Article XII Temporary Conditions. This Article Shall expire June 30, 2016
Section 1. Membership – All students of the NYIT PA program will be granted membership without dues until the beginning of the 2015 academic year.
Section 2. Election of Officers – The faculty advisor must receive nominations for the newly formed Society no later than Dec 19 2014.
Officer Election of the newly formed society will take place beginning January 5th 2015 and will run until January 8th 2015.
Section 3. Offices to be Filled – Elected offices to be filed include: President, Vice president, Secretary, Treasurer, state chapter student representative, Director of External Affairs, and Assembly of Representatives (AOR) representative.
Section 4. Terms of Office – Once elected each officer, with the exception of the Vice President, shall serve until June 30, 2015 The Vice President shall serve until June 30, 2016, as Vice-President, for 6 months, then as President. The AOR Alternate shall be the 2nd highest vote recipient for the AOR representative position.
American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for PAs. It represents all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of PAs and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org to learn more about the profession and www.pasconnect.org to see PAs in action.
AAPA funds and facilitates a student microsite and you are encouraged to take advantage of all that this has to offer. Visit www.pastudentessentials.com to see how this microsite can assist you in your education.
AAPA's mission is to provide quality, cost-effective and accessible health care as well as to support the professional and personal development of PAs. The AAPA pursues these goals through government relations and public education programs, research and data collection efforts and continuing education activities.
The Academy's policies are set by the House of Delegates, which meets once a year, and implemented by the Board of Directors. The House of Delegates is made up of representatives from the chartered chapters, the Medical and Surgical Congresses, and the Association of PA programs..
For membership information or further information regarding the Physician Assistant profession, contact:
American Academy of Physician Assistants
2318 Mill Road, Suite 1300
Alexandria, VA 22314
The New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA)
Student membership, and subsequently graduated membership, in The New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA) is strongly recommended to keep you informed of New York State legislative issues regarding the PA profession.
For membership information and an application go to the NYSSPA web site: http://www.nysspa.org.
Student Identification Badges
A college photo identification (ID) card must be obtained from the Office of Campus Security as soon as possible after arrival on campus. The ID card must be carried at all times while on campus and must be presented on demand to any college official. The card can be used to check out library materials, enables the holder to a discount or free entry to campus events, and is needed to gain entry to all computer laboratories, the program classroom, the anatomy laboratory, residence halls and some buildings after hours. Funds can be added to the card for food, copy services, and on-campus purchases. Visit this link for more information: https://onecard.nyit.edu/webapps/portal.
Students are required to wear these ID badges conspicuously at all times while at clinical clerkship sites. Loss of the identification badge is to be reported as soon as possible, so that a new one may be issued.
Parking is available on the Old Westbury campus at NYIT free of charge. An NYIT parking sticker is required and may be obtained at the security office. When students are required to participate in activities at hospital or clinical sites, the parking policies of the individual facilities will prevail. It is the student's responsibility to ask about the facility parking policies prior to going to the site, so that they will be prepared and not late for their site rotation.
Students must adhere to all parking rules and regulations. Failure to do so may result in the loss of parking privileges and summonses from the Office of Security as well as the Old Westbury police.
During snow emergencies, the entire campus including the parking facility at NYIT may be closed.
For important information regarding parking policies, refer to Parking and Vehicle Policies.
The college provides notification of emergencies via cell phone text messaging. This is the preferred method for receiving al alerts, including on-campus emergencies. To receive access to the emergency notification service, please visit the following website: http://nyit.edu/alerts.
Wisser Memorial Library and NYIT-COM Medical Library hours are posted on the campus library website: http://www.nyit.edu/library.
* All library materials borrowed should be returned by the students on a timely basis in accordance with the libraries' regulations governing loaned materials. Students will be solely responsible for any and all fines and or damage incurred while loaned materials are in their possession. Transcripts, diplomas and graduation confirmations will be withheld by the Registrar if the student's bursar account contains unpaid fees.
While on rotation, students may have access to all libraries located at the clinical sites. Students are personally financially responsible for all borrowed materials. Any outstanding library materials must be returned or reconciled with the library before a student is allowed to receive a grade for that clerkship, go to the next semester or graduate.
Physician Assistant Books and Journals
Both online and in hard copy, the NYIT-COM and Wisser Libraries contain numerous medical and health care professional books and journals that provide current, valuable medical information. Your valid NYIT ID card is necessary for admittance. A list of texts for each course is provided in the course syllabi.
Required and recommended course books are listed in the course syllabi. The program provides the medical library with a listing of course books prior to the start of each semester.
Student Work Policy
Students are not required to work for the program and do not replace regular part-time and full- time employees of the College. PA students will not be coerced into doing staff or faculty work for the program. If a student feels that program faculty or staff is violating this policy, the student should contact the Chair of the PA Department or the Dean as appropriate.
PA students will not substitute for or function as clinical preceptors (instructional faculty or clinical or administrative staff) during supervised clinical practical experiences. Students act under the supervision of clinical preceptors and are expected to gain experiential learning during their clerkships. A student who believes that he or she is being asked to do the work of an employee in violation of this policy should report this to the program Director of Clerkship Education, Clinical Coordinator or program Chair. (See section XIV for additional information on student work policy)
It is strongly recommended that PA students not work during all phases of the program. Because of the intense nature of studies during all phases of the program, there is significant likelihood that those who work will find themselves in academic jeopardy. No allowances will be made in the academic or clinical schedules for students who work.
Physical and Learning Disabilities Policy
Students wishing to discuss the availability of services for the physically disabled or temporarily disabled, or who wish to identify barrier problems should contact the campus services coordinator. For further information regarding disability-related programs or services, contact:
Office of Accessibility Services
Student Activities Center, Room 304 (3rd Floor)
Substance Abuse Policy
NYIT prohibits the consumption, use, and sale of alcoholic or controlled substances on campus and at off-campus college-sponsored events. The program policy includes the statement that students should never provide care to patients or be present at a clinical clerkship while impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Students may be required to be tested for alcohol and/or substance use randomly. Failure to submit to testing will be interpreted by the program as equivalent to admission of alcohol and/or substance use and may result in dismissal from the clerkship site and the program.
Effective January 1, 1990, the New York State's Clean Indoor Act was placed in effect. The purpose of this act is "…to preserve the people of this state by limiting exposure to tobacco smoke."
It is the intent and policy of the New York Institute of Technology and all clerkships to comply with this law and other local statutes that may apply.
Smoking is prohibited in all buildings except where specifically designated as a .Smoking Permitted. area. This prohibition includes but is not limited to outside areas immediately adjacent to building entrances, classrooms, auditoriums, lobbies, elevators, hallways, waiting rooms, lunchrooms, lounges, and offices. All work areas are to be smoke free. In school vehicles occupied by more than one person, smoking is prohibited unless occupants of such vehicle agree that smoking may be permitted.
Smoking is also prohibited in all residence hall areas that students use in common or to which the public has access, unless a "smoking permitted" area has been designated. The desire for a non-smoking roommate is an acceptable reason for a student to request a change of residence hall room. All medical facilities in New York State have in effect a NO SMOKING policy.
The laboratory courses provide a venue in which to practice clinical skills. Students are expected to practice with each other in a professional manner by providing comfort, dignity and respect.
There will be faculty to supervise the lab practice times. Students are responsible for the equipment and materials in terms of safety, maintenance and cost. Students may only use equipment that has been previously covered in the classroom lecture and lab. Students are responsible for reporting any equipment in need of repair to either a faculty member or to the lab supervisor. No one other than NYIT students is allowed in the lab program. Students are responsible for putting equipment away after use and cleaning their work areas. The PA classroom/lab must be kept clean and orderly. No food, drinks, trash or clothing should be left on the desks, chairs or counters. The refrigerator and storage areas must be periodically cleaned and outdated food thrown away. These are all student responsibilities.
The gross anatomy lab experience creates a body of knowledge that permeates the basic foundation of education that is universal to all patient care. The faculty and staff of the Anatomy Lab are dedicated to serving the needs of authorized users within the PA program. The cadavers are under strict control of The State of New York. Cadavers are donated and the remains of cadavers are cremated, and the remains are either returned to the family or scattered at sea as requested. No cadaver is deemed acceptable for the anatomy laboratory if death was due to a major communicable disease. All cadavers are embalmed and there is no special risk of infectious disease.
The gross anatomy laboratory is available to authorized users only and strictly enforced. Access to the lab is through a magnetic lock, which your ID badge will be programmed to open. Guests are not allowed. The Anatomy Lab door and windows are never to be propped open.
Students are not permitted to take photos, videos or any recordings of cadavers. Cadavers are to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Verbal or written communications, including social media posts of any kind that makes reference to a cadaver in an insensitive or dehumanizing manner will not be tolerated, and may be justification for automatic and immediate dismissal from the program.
Student Course/Faculty Evaluations
You are given the opportunity to provide on-going feedback regarding your course work and the faculty. Near the end of each didactic semester, you will receive electronic notifications from the Office of Institutional Research, with instructions on how to complete end-of-semester faculty evaluations. During the clinical year, students are required to electronically complete a Student Evaluation of Clinical Site (SECS) at the end of each clinical rotation.
Office of Physician Assistant Studies
The Department of Physician Assistant Studies Suite is located in Room 352 on the third floor of the Riland Center.
Messages for the PA faculty, advisors or members of the PA society should primarily be transmitted by email, phone and voicemail. Contact information can be found on your course syllabi and on the faculty directory: http://nyit.edu/health_professions/faculty
As an added measure, phone messages may be left with the PA Department Administrative Assistant or Staff Associate. You may also call 516.686.3881 to leave a message or to schedule an appointment with the Chair.
Non-urgent and non-confidential documents may also be left in faculty and staff mail slots located in Room 363 on the third floor of Riland Center.
Student Record Confidentiality
Student records are securely stored in the PA office. Only program faculty and staff have access to the records. Students may have access to their personal records by scheduling an appointment with their faculty advisor. Students are prohibited from access to academic records or other confidential information of other students or faculty. The content of student files include evidence the student has met published admission criteria, institution and program health screening and immunization requirements; documents related to student performance while enrolled; remediation efforts and outcomes; summaries of any formal academic/behavioral disciplinary action taken; and documentation that the student has met requirements for program completion.
Students are prohibited from viewing letters of recommendation in their CASPA application and other sources in which they have previously signed a letter of release.
Only the required student health records that include the annual health assessment and immunization forms (see Appendixes D & E) are kept by the program and are securely stored in the PA office. No other student medical records are kept by the program.
Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policies
In accordance with Title VII of civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, harassment on the basis of sex is a form of discrimination and it is unlawful. New York Institute of Technology maintains the principle that students, faculty and staff should not be subjected to subtle or overt forms of sexual harassment caused by any member of the college's community. It is, therefore, the policy of New York Institute of Technology to provide its member - faculty, staff, and students alike – an environment free of sexual harassment. For further information contact the Dean of Campus Life: email@example.com or 516.686.7635
Sexual harassment is illegal under U.S. Law and the Physician Assistant program will not tolerate any sexual misconduct, verbal or physical, explicit or implicit, on the part of the students or faculty, including preceptors. Although not in the employment of NYIT, all who provide education, guidance and mentoring to NYIT students are included within this policy.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Course material presented that disregards or deprecates a person's gender
- Being denied resources or financial aid or admission for sexist reasons
- Being pressured to participate in sexual/social activities
- Sexual advances or inappropriate verbal terminology
- Suggestive or provocative gifts
Discrimination against students or employees of NYIT on the basis of gender, age, race, color, religious belief, national origin, marital status, disability, citizenship status or any other basis is prohibited by applicable federal, state or` local civil rights laws.
Examples of discrimination include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal or written material that demeans an individual's or group's creed, race, political, religious or sexual orientation
- Excluding individuals or groups of individuals from social or instructional situations based on religious, racial, political, or sexual orientation reasons
Any incidents of discrimination should be brought to the immediate attention of the program Chair, who will initiate an investigation that may result in appropriate disciplinary actions.
Appendix A. Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession
(Adopted 2000, amended 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, reaffirmed 2013)
The Physician Aassistant profession has revised its code of ethics several times since the profession began. Although the fundamental principles underlying the ethical care of patients have not changed, the societal framework in which those principles are applied has. Economic pressures of the health care system, social pressures of church and state, technological advances, and changing patient demographics continually transform the landscape in which PAs practice.
Previous codes of the profession were brief lists of tenets for PAs to live by in their professional lives. This document departs from that format by attempting to describe ways in which those tenets apply. Each situation is unique. Individual PAs must use their best judgment in a given situation while considering the preferences of the patient and the supervising physician, clinical information, ethical concepts, and legal obligations.
Four main bioethical principles broadly guided the development of these guidelines: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice.
Autonomy, strictly speaking, means self-rule. Patients have the right to make autonomous decisions and choices, and physician assistants should respect these decisions and choices.
Beneficence means that PAs should act in the patient's best interest. In certain cases, respecting the patient's autonomy and acting in their best interests may be difficult to balance.
Nonmaleficence means to do no harm, to impose no unnecessary or unacceptable burden upon the patient.
Justice means that patients in similar circumstances should receive similar care. Justice also applies to norms for the fair distribution of resources, risks, and costs.
Physician assistants are expected to behave both legally and morally. They should know and understand the laws governing their practice. Likewise, they should understand the ethical responsibilities of being a health care professional. Legal requirements and ethical expectations will not always be in agreement. Generally speaking, the law describes minimum standards of acceptable behavior, and ethical principles delineate the highest moral standards of behavior.
When faced with an ethical dilemma, PAs may find the guidance they need in this document. If not, they may wish to seek guidance elsewhere—possibly from a supervising physician, a hospital ethics committee, an ethicist, trusted colleagues, or other AAPA policies. PAs should seek legal counsel when they are concerned about the potential legal consequences of their decisions.
The following sections discuss ethical conduct of PAs in their professional interactions with patients, physicians, colleagues, other health professionals, and the public. The "Statement of Values" within this document defines the fundamental values that the PA profession strives to uphold. These values provide the foundation upon which the guidelines rest. The guidelines were written with the understanding that no document can encompass all actual and potential ethical responsibilities, and PAs should not regard them as comprehensive.
Statement of Values of the Physician Assistant Profession
- Physician assistants hold as their primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare, and dignity of all human beings.
- Physician assistants uphold the tenets of patient autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice.
- Physician assistants recognize and promote the value of diversity.
- Physician assistants treat equally all persons who seek their care.
- Physician assistants hold in confidence the information shared in the course of practicing medicine.
- Physician assistants assess their personal capabilities and limitations, striving always to improve their medical practice.
- Physician assistants actively seek to expand their knowledge and skills, keeping abreast of advances in medicine.
- Physician assistants work with other members of the health care team to provide compassionate and effective care of patients.
- Physician assistants use their knowledge and experience to contribute to an improved community.
- Physician assistants respect their professional relationship with physicians.
- Physician assistants share and expand knowledge within the profession.
The PA and Patient
PA Role and Responsibilities
Physician assistant practice flows out of a unique relationship that involves the PA, the physician, and the patient. The individual patient–PA relationship is based on mutual respect and an agreement to work together regarding medical care. In addition, PAs practice medicine with physician supervision; therefore, the care that a PA provides is an extension of the care of the supervising physician. The patient–PA relationship is also a patient–PA–physician relationship.
The principal value of the physician assistant profession is to respect the health, safety, welfare, and dignity of all human beings. This concept is the foundation of the patient–PA relationship. Physician assistants have an ethical obligation to see that each of their patients receives appropriate care. PAs should be sensitive to the beliefs and expectations of the patient. PAs should recognize that each patient is unique and has an ethical right to self-determination
Physician assistants are professionally and ethically committed to providing nondiscriminatory care to all patients. While PAs are not expected to ignore their own personal values, scientific or ethical standards, or the law, they should not allow their personal beliefs to restrict patient access to care. A PA has an ethical duty to offer each patient the full range of information on relevant options for their health care. If personal moral, religious, or ethical beliefs prevent a PA from offering the full range of treatments available or care the patient desires, the PA has an ethical duty to refer a patient to another qualified provider. That referral should not restrict a patient's access to care. PAs are obligated to care for patients in emergency situations and to responsibly transfer patients if they cannot care for them.
Physician assistants should always act in the best interests of their patients and as advocates when necessary. PAs should actively resist policies that restrict free exchange of medical information. For example, a PA should not withhold information about treatment options simply because the option is not covered by insurance. PAs should inform patients of financial incentives to limit care, use resources in a fair and efficient way, and avoid arrangements or financial incentives that conflict with the patient's best interests.
The PA and Diversity
The physician assistant should respect the culture, values, beliefs, and expectations of the patient.
Physician assistants should not discriminate against classes or categories of patients in the delivery of needed health care. Such classes and categories include gender, color, creed, race, religion, age, ethnic or national origin, political beliefs, nature of illness, disability, socioeconomic status, physical stature, body size, gender identity, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Initiation and Discontinuation of Care
In the absence of a preexisting patient–PA relationship, the physician assistant is under no ethical obligation to care for a person unless no other provider is available. A PA is morally bound to provide care in emergency situations and to arrange proper follow-up. PAs should keep in mind that contracts with health insurance plans might define a legal obligation to provide care to certain patients.
A physician assistant and supervising physician may discontinue their professional relationship with an established patient as long as proper procedures are followed. The PA and physician should provide the patient with adequate notice, offer to transfer records, and arrange for continuity of care if the patient has an ongoing medical condition. Discontinuation of the professional relationship should be undertaken only after a serious attempt has been made to clarify and understand the expectations and concerns of all involved parties.
If the patient decides to terminate the relationship, they are entitled to access appropriate information contained within their medical record.
Physician assistants have a duty to protect and foster an individual patient's free and informed choices. The doctrine of informed consent means that a PA provides adequate information that is comprehendible to a competent patient or patient surrogate. At a minimum, this should include the nature of the medical condition, the objectives of the proposed treatment, treatment options, possible outcomes, and the risks involved. PAs should be committed to the concept of shared decision making, which involves assisting patients in making decisions that account for medical, situational, and personal factors.
In caring for adolescents, the PA should understand all of the laws and regulations in his or her jurisdiction that are related to the ability of minors to consent to or refuse health care. Adolescents should be encouraged to involve their families in health care decision making. The PA should also understand consent laws pertaining to emancipated or mature minors. (See the section on Confidentiality.)
When the person giving consent is a patient's surrogate, a family member, or other legally authorized representative, the PA should take reasonable care to assure that the decisions made are consistent with the patient's best interests and personal preferences, if known. If the PA believes the surrogate's choices do not reflect the patient's wishes or best interests, the PA should work to resolve the conflict. This may require the use of additional resources, such as an ethics committee.
Physician assistants should maintain confidentiality. By maintaining confidentiality, PAs respect patient privacy and help to prevent discrimination based on medical conditions. If patients are confident that their privacy is protected, they are more likely to seek medical care and more likely to discuss their problems candidly.
In cases of adolescent patients, family support is important but should be balanced with the patient's need for confidentiality and the PA's obligation to respect their emerging autonomy. Adolescents may not be of age to make independent decisions about their health, but providers should respect that they soon will be. To the extent they can, PAs should allow these emerging adults to participate as fully as possible in decisions about their care. It is important that PAs be familiar with and understand the laws and regulations in their jurisdictions that relate to the confidentiality rights of adolescent patients. (See the section on Informed Consent.)
Any communication about a patient conducted in a manner that violates confidentiality is unethical. Because written, electronic, and verbal information may be intercepted or overheard, the PA should always be aware of anyone who might be monitoring communication about a patient.
PAs should choose methods of storage and transmission of patient information that minimize the likelihood of data becoming available to unauthorized persons or organizations. Computerized record keeping and electronic data transmission present unique challenges that can make the maintenance of patient confidentiality difficult. PAs should advocate for policies and procedures that secure the confidentiality of patient information.
The Patient and the Medical Record
Physician assistants have an obligation to keep information in the patient's medical record confidential. Information should be released only with the written permission of the patient or the patient's legally authorized representative. Specific exceptions to this general rule may exist (e.g., workers compensation, communicable disease, HIV, knife/gunshot wounds, abuse, substance abuse). It is important that a PA be familiar with and understand the laws and regulations in his or her jurisdiction that relate to the release of information. For example, stringent legal restrictions on release of genetic test results and mental health records often exist.
Both ethically and legally, a patient has certain rights to know the information contained in his or her medical record. While the chart is legally the property of the practice or the institution, the information in the chart is the property of the patient. Most states have laws that provide patients access to their medical records. The PA should know the laws and facilitate patient access to the information.
A physician assistant should disclose to his or her supervising physician information about errors made in the course of caring for a patient. The supervising physician and PA should disclose the error to the patient if such information is significant to the patient's interests and well being. Errors do not always constitute improper, negligent, or unethical behavior, but failure to disclose them may.
Care of Family Members and Co-workers
Treating oneself, co-workers, close friends, family members, or students whom the physician assistant supervises or teaches may be unethical or create conflicts of interest. For example, it might be ethically acceptable to treat one's own child for a case of otitis media but it probably is not acceptable to treat one's spouse for depression. PAs should be aware that their judgment might be less than objective in cases involving friends, family members, students, and colleagues and that providing "curbside" care might sway the individual from establishing an ongoing relationship with a provider. If it becomes necessary to treat a family member or close associate, a formal patient-provider relationship should be established, and the PA should consider transferring the patient's care to another provider as soon as it is practical. If a close associate requests care, the PA may wish to assist by helping them find an appropriate provider.
There may be exceptions to this guideline, for example, when a PA runs an employee health center or works in occupational medicine. Even in those situations, the PA should be sure they do not provide informal treatment, but provide appropriate medical care in a formally established patient-provider relationship.
Evaluating the risk of disease and performing diagnostic genetic tests raise significant ethical concerns. Physician assistants should be informed about the benefits and risks of genetic tests. Testing should be undertaken only after proper informed consent is obtained. If PAs order or conduct the tests, they should assure that appropriate pre- and post-test counseling is provided.
PAs should be sure that patients understands the potential consequences of undergoing genetic tests—from impact on patients themselves, possible implications for other family members, and potential use of the information by insurance companies or others who might have access to the information.
Because of the potential for discrimination by insurers, employers, or others, PAs should be particularly aware of the need for confidentiality concerning genetic test results.
Reproductive Decision Making
Patients have a right to access the full range of reproductive health care services, including fertility treatments, contraception, sterilization, and abortion. Physician assistants have an ethical obligation to provide balanced and unbiased clinical information about reproductive health care.
When the PA's personal values conflict with providing full disclosure or providing certain services such as sterilization or abortion, the PA need not become involved in that aspect of the patient's care. By referring the patient to a qualified provider who is willing to discuss and facilitate all treatment options, the PA fulfills their ethical obligation to ensure the patient's access to all legal options.
End of Life
Among the ethical principles that are fundamental to providing compassionate care at the end of life, the most essential is recognizing that dying is a personal experience and part of the life cycle.
Physician Assistants should provide patients with the opportunity to plan for end of life care. Advance directives, living wills, durable power of attorney, and organ donation should be discussed during routine patient visits.
PAs should assure terminally-ill patients that their dignity is a priority and that relief of physical and mental suffering is paramount. PAs should exhibit non-judgmental attitudes and should assure their terminally-ill patients that they will not be abandoned. To the extent possible, patient or surrogate preferences should be honored, using the most appropriate measures consistent with their choices, including alternative and non-traditional treatments. PAs should explain palliative and hospice care and facilitate patient access to those services. End of life care should include assessment and management of psychological, social, and spiritual or religious needs.
While respecting patients' wishes for particular treatments when possible, PAs also must weigh their ethical responsibility, in consultation with supervising physicians, to withhold futile treatments and to help patients understand such medical decisions.
PAs should involve the physician in all near-death planning. The PA should only withdraw life support with the supervising physician's agreement and in accordance with the policies of the health care institution.
The PA and Individual Professionalism
Conflict of Interest
Physician assistants should place service to patients before personal material gain and should avoid undue influence on their clinical judgment. Trust can be undermined by even the appearance of improper influence. Examples of excessive or undue influence on clinical judgment can take several forms. These may include financial incentives, pharmaceutical or other industry gifts, and business arrangements involving referrals. PAs should disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest to their patients.
Acceptance of gifts, trips, hospitality, or other items is discouraged. Before accepting a gift or financial arrangement, PAs might consider the guidelines of the Royal College of Physicians, "Would I be willing to have this arrangement generally known?" or of the American College of Physicians, "What would the public or my patients think of this arrangement?"
Physician assistants should not misrepresent directly or indirectly, their skills, training, professional credentials, or identity. Physician assistants should uphold the dignity of the PA profession and accept its ethical values.
Physician assistants should commit themselves to providing competent medical care and extend to each patient the full measure of their professional ability as dedicated, empathetic health care providers. PAs should also strive to maintain and increase the quality of their health care knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence through individual study and continuing education.
It is unethical for physician assistants to become sexually involved with patients. It also may be unethical for PAs to become sexually involved with former patients or key third parties. Key third parties are individuals who have influence over the patient. These might include spouses or partners, parents, guardians, or surrogates.
Such relationships generally are unethical because of the PA's position of authority and the inherent imbalance of knowledge, expertise, and status. Issues such as dependence, trust, transference, and inequalities of power may lead to increased vulnerability on the part of the current or former patients or key third parties.
Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
It is unethical for physician assistants to engage in or condone any form of gender discrimination. Gender discrimination is defined as any behavior, action, or policy that adversely affects an individual or group of individuals due to disparate treatment, disparate impact, or the creation of a hostile or intimidating work or learning environment.
It is unethical for PAs to engage in or condone any form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment; or
- Accepting or rejecting such conduct affects or may be perceived to affect professional decisions concerning an individual; or
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's training or professional position.
The PA and Other Professionals
Physician assistants should be committed to working collegially with other members of the health care team to assure integrated, well-managed, and effective care of patients. PAs should strive to maintain a spirit of cooperation with other health care professionals, their organizations, and the general public.
Illegal and Unethical Conduct
Physician assistants should not participate in or conceal any activity that will bring discredit or dishonor to the PA profession. They should report illegal or unethical conduct by health care professionals to the appropriate authorities.
Physician assistants have an ethical responsibility to protect patients and the public by identifying and assisting impaired colleagues. "Impaired" means being unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety because of physical or mental illness, loss of motor skills, or excessive use or abuse of drugs and alcohol.
PAs should be able to recognize impairment in physician supervisors, PAs, and other health care providers and should seek assistance from appropriate resources to encourage these individuals to obtain treatment.
Supervision should include ongoing communication between the physician and the physician assistant regarding patient care. The PA should consult the supervising physician whenever it will safeguard or advance the welfare of the patient. This includes seeking assistance in situations of conflict with a patient or another health care professional.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
When a patient asks about an alternative therapy, the PA has an ethical obligation to gain a basic understanding of the alternative therapy being considered or being used and how the treatment will affect the patient. If the treatment would harm the patient, the PA should work diligently to dissuade the patient from using it, advise other treatment, and perhaps consider transferring the patient to another provider.
The PA and the Health Care System
Physician assistants may face difficult personal decisions to withhold medical services when workplace actions (e.g., strikes, sick-outs, slowdowns, etc.) occur. The potential harm to patients should be carefully weighed against the potential improvements to working conditions and, ultimately, patient care that could result. In general, PAs should individually and collectively work to find alternatives to such actions in addressing workplace concerns.
PAs as Educators
All physician assistants have a responsibility to share knowledge and information with patients, other health professionals, students, and the public. The ethical duty to teach includes effective communication with patients so that they will have the information necessary to participate in their health care and wellness.
PAs and Research
The most important ethical principle in research is honesty. This includes assuring subjects' informed consent, following treatment protocols, and accurately reporting findings. Fraud and dishonesty in research should be reported so that the appropriate authorities can take action.
Physician assistants involved in research must be aware of potential conflicts of interest. The patient's welfare takes precedence over the desired research outcome. Any conflict of interest should be disclosed.
In scientific writing, PAs should report information honestly and accurately. Sources of funding for the research must be included in the published reports.
Plagiarism is unethical. Incorporating the words of others, either verbatim or by paraphrasing, without appropriate attribution is unethical and may have legal consequences. When submitting a document for publication, any previous publication of any portion of the document must be fully disclosed.
PAs as Expert Witnesses
The physician assistant expert witness should testify to what he or she believes to be the truth. The PA's review of medical facts should be thorough, fair, and impartial.
The PA expert witness should be fairly compensated for time spent preparing, appearing, and testifying. The PA should not accept a contingency fee based on the outcome of a case in which testimony is given or derive personal, financial, or professional favor in addition to compensation.
The PA and Society
Physician assistants have the dual duty to respect the law and to work for positive change to laws that will enhance the health and well being of the community.
Physician assistants, as health care professionals, should not participate in executions because to do so would violate the ethical principle of beneficence.
Access to Care/Resource Allocation
Physician assistants have a responsibility to use health care resources in an appropriate and efficient manner so that all patients have access to needed health care. Resource allocation should be based on societal needs and policies, not the circumstances of an individual patient–PA encounter. PAs participating in policy decisions about resource allocation should consider medical need, cost- effectiveness, efficacy, and equitable distribution of benefits and burdens in society.
Community Well Being
Physician assistants should work for the health, well being, and the best interest of both the patient and the community. Sometimes there is a dynamic moral tension between the well being of the community in general and the individual patient. Conflict between an individual patient's best interest and the common good is not always easily resolved. In general, PAs should be committed to upholding and enhancing community values, be aware of the needs of the community, and use the knowledge and experience acquired as professionals to contribute to an improved community.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants recognizes its responsibility to aid the PA profession as it strives to provide high quality, accessible health care. Physician assistants wrote these guidelines for themselves and other physician assistants. The ultimate goal is to honor patients and earn their trust while providing the best and most appropriate care possible. At the same time, PAs must understand their personal values and beliefs and recognize the ways in which those values and beliefs can impact the care they provide.
Appendix B. Competencies Self-Evaluation Tool
Appendix C. Student Honor Code Pledge
Appendix D. Annual Health Assessment Form
Appendix E. Vaccination & Immunization Response Forms
Appendix F. Influenza Vaccination Form
Appendix H. Waiver of Mandatory Attendance Form
Appendix J. Grading Scale
Grade Appeals Procedure in the School of Health Professions (SHP)
The procedures detailed below apply to professional phase students in the Departments of Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and students in the Physician Assistant Studies program. All other students in the pre professional stage programs of SHP are expected to follow the usual grade appeals procedure of NYIT.
1. Basis For Grade Changes
A final course grade may be changed only if there is unequivocal evidence that one or more of the following applies:
- It was a direct result of arbitrary and capricious conduct on the part of the instructor;
- The instructor discriminated against the student on the basis of a protected classification as the term is defined by Federal Law, New York State Law, or the Administrative Code of the City of New York;
- The grade was incorrectly calculated;
- A clerical error occurred in recording the grade; or
- A mitigating circumstance prevented the student from completing a final assignment or attending the final examination. In such cases, a grade may be changed to either a "W" or "I" pursuant to the rules governing these grades.**
- A grade awarded on the basis of academic dishonesty may not be appealed under this procedure, unless the charge has been resolved in favor of the student pursuant to NYIT's Academic Integrity Policy.
**In cases where the grade has been changed to an "I", the student shall have one (1) additional semester beyond the final decision of the Grade Appeals Committee in which to complete the work. However, the student may not be able to progress in the professional program. The temporary grade of incomplete "I" shall change to a failing "IF" grade if the student does not complete all work by the end of the allotted time (see schedule in the catalog). Such an "IF" grade may not be challenged, and the course must be repeated by the student to receive credit, if permitted to do so by the major's progression policy.
2. Initial Challenge of Grade and Appeal
A student may file a formal challenge to a grade on any of the grounds set forth in subsections (1. – 5.) of section one above. The student must present positive detailed and specific evidence in support of his/her claim.
- The student must notify the instructor in writing within two days after receiving the grade or within two days after the grade is posted on NYIT Connect, whichever occurs first. The instructor must confer with the student and notify the student in writing whether he/she will change the grade within five days. In the event that New York Institute of Technology no longer employs the instructor, a student's challenge shall commence with the chair. In such cases, the student must notify the Chair and all rights and responsibilities otherwise assumed by the instructor will be assumed by the Chair.
- If the instructor or Chair, acting in place of the instructor, agrees to change the grade based on the appeal, the instructor or Chair shall send a Change of Grade Form, with the appropriate documentation, to the Registrar within two working days.
- If the instructor declines to change the grade, or has not met the deadline, the student may appeal to the Chair and the Chair will meet with the instructor and the student and attempt to mediate the appeal within two business days of the student’s notification. Where the Chair has attempted, but failed, to mediate the appeal within that time period, the Chair shall notify the student immediately and promptly send a written report regarding the mediation to the instructor and the student.
- If after the Chair's attempted mediation, the student remains dissatisfied with the decision, the student may submit the appeal in writing to the Dean's office within two days, with copies to the instructor and the Chair.
- Where the Chair has not taken steps to mediate the appeal within the allotted time, or where the Chair has acted in place of the instructor and has declined to change the grade, the student may appeal the grade directly to the Dean.
- The Dean shall convene a meeting of the standing grade appeals committee as soon as possible to resolve the issue within two weeks of receiving the grade appeal letter. The standing committee's decision is made on the day of the meeting and communicated verbally to the student, followed by a written confirmation of the decision by the VPHSMA or a designee.
3. Program Progression
Each student challenging or appealing a grade may be allowed to continue with his or her program of study until a final decision is made on the appeal, depending upon the policy of the professional program. In all programs, the student's clinical rotation or internship may be delayed and promptly rescheduled if participation in such training is deemed unsafe. There may also be financial consequences.
4. Grade Appeals Committee
The Committee shall consist of: a) the Vice President for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs (VPHSMA) or designee, b) the Dean of SHP who shall chair the meeting, (c) the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee-a non-voting member of the committee; and d) three faculty members: two from any of the other departments in SHP that is not directly involved with the appeal, one faculty member from another school or college in the institution and one student representative from within SHP but not in the program. The committee shall be deemed to have a quorum when any two committee members, the Dean (or designee) and the VPHSMA (or designee) and the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee convene to review a grade appeal.
5. Meetings of the Grade Appeals Committee
The Grade Appeals Committee meeting shall be convened by the Dean of SHP as needed. The committee shall invite the instructor and student to the meeting and consider any evidence which the student, the instructor, or the committee deems relevant. Should the student or instructor or
Chair, if the instructor is no longer employed by NYIT, not be available or decline to meet with the committee, it may determine cases on the basis of the submitted written arguments and supporting documents alone. However, if the instructor or the student attends the meeting, no attorneys will be permitted to attend as representatives for either side. Every effort will be made to keep the committee's investigation confidential.
6. Report and Determination of the Grade Appeals Committee
The committee will vote after its deliberation, and a final decision will be made by simple majority. In case of a tie, the decision will be determined by the VPHSMA .The Office of the VPHSMA will issue the committee's decision in writing to the student and instructor, and provide copies to the Chair and the Academic Dean. If the committee determines that the grade should be changed, a copy of that determination will be forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs, which will direct the Registrar to effect the grade change. The decision of the Grade Appeals Committee shall be final, binding and unreviewable.
7. Written Signature of the Instructor Required for Other Grade Changes
Other than specified in section 6 above, no grade may be changed by the Registrar without the instructor's and chair's signatures on a Change of Grade form; provided, however, that when the Chair acts in place of the instructor and decides to change the student's grade, the signature of the Chair shall be sufficient.