Program Info

With a mission to train the next and future generations of advanced practice providers of the highest caliber and devotion, we take our lead from the historic motto of Emory & Henry College to “Increase in Excellence,” assisting our students to lead lives of service, pursue and obtain productive careers, and participate wholeheartedly in global citizenship.

It is our equally important mission to bring back the heart in medical practice, to infuse compassion, mindfulness, and cultural humility, and to train our students to become well-rounded practitioners who are able to meet their patients’ needs at pursuing lives of greater meaning and contentment.

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Our Commitment to Service & Experiential Training

The graduate programs within the School of Health Sciences were developed at the request of local communities to assist in meeting the needs of the region. Given this, our training emphasis is on rural primary care for the underserved. Understanding that such an emphasis demands training students to be capable of treating patients with highly complex medical conditions and comorbidities, our students will be well trained to pursue entry-level physician assistant practice in any specialty and in any location.

As clear evidence of this commitment, Dr. Richards worked tirelessly to relocate the community’s free clinic, the Meal Leaman Free Clinic, right onto our SHS campus in Marion, VA; the clinic was subsequently renamed the Mel Leaman Free Clinic at Emory & Henry College. Program faculty from SHS Departments, including the Department of PA Studies, the Department of Physical Therapy, and the Department of Occupational Therapy provide volunteer medical services at the clinic, which now offers primary care, behavioral medicine and psychiatric care, orthopedic care, women’s health care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dentistry and dental hygiene. The Clinic also offers access to specialty and subspecialty care via their Telehealth Program.

Click here to read how Dr. Scott Richards, Department Chair/Program Director of the E&H MPAS Program, is enhancing the curriculum for our PA students in rural care for the underserved.

MPAS program faculty also volunteer their services with Marion Fire and EMS. MPAS Program students, beginning in their very first week in the program, rotate through the Clinic and Marion Fire & EMS for an average of 4-hours per week - precepted by their MPAS Program faculty - throughout the entirety of their first year of training. 

Click here to read how Dr. Peter Bruzzo, Principal Faculty in the E&H MPAS Program, is enhancing the curriculum for our PA students in emergency medical care.

Additionally, MPAS students participate in multiple other community service activities. Student consistently volunteer with the following groups:


MPAS Program Mission, Vision, and Goal Statements

  • Vision Statement

    Our vision is to become a national leader in PA education which graduates medical providers who are… culturally sensitive, curious, empathetic, genuine, insightful, mindful, critical thinkers and provide patients with timely access to appropriate, high-quality, holistic, patient-centered care.

  • Mission Statement

    To continue Emory & Henry College’s legacy of excellence and service with an emphasis on changing lives, our Mission is:

    • To provide graduate-level education in an interdisciplinary environment that prepares our students for careers as PAs
    • To improve access to high-quality, compassionate, culturally sensitive, patient-centered, evidence-based medical care in rural and underserved areas
    • To foster professionalism among our students and graduates
    • To foster critical thinking and life-long learning promoting improved patient experiences and outcomes
    • To foster continuous mindfulness practices in healthcare
  • Program Goals
    1. Provide resources to support students in adapting to and managing the rigors inherent to PA education
    2. Provide a curriculum and experience promoting mastery of the skills and behaviors as an entry level Physician Assistant
    3. Foster a collaborative approach to working effectively in interdisciplinary patient-centered healthcare teams.
    4. Foster mindfulness-based practices
    5. Promote and support student and faculty civic engagement opportunities
    6. Encourage and support student and faculty professional activities promoting the PA profession

MPAS Program Learning Outcomes

Program learning outcomes represent the knowledge, interpersonal, clinical and technical skills, professional behaviors, and clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities that we believe are necessary for clinical practice.  In developing our learning outcomes, we incorporated information from a variety of sources including the nationally recognized Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession, our faculty’s knowledge, and input from clinical preceptors and advisory board members. In September 2018, the Physician Assistant Education Association updated the competencies, publishing the Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates. Although the MPAS Program already addresses each of the competencies within our present curriculum, we are reviewing the new competencies to consider if our present learning outcomes need to be adapted. 

Although our Learning Outcomes carry the same headings as the national Competencies for practicing PAs, these have been honed and adapted so as to represent skills acquired during the educational process, geared towards entry-level practice, and made specific to our program.

  • 1. Medical Knowledge

    Physician Assistant students must demonstrate core knowledge of established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care in a variety of practice areas. In addition, Physician Assistant students are expected to demonstrate a critical thinking approach to clinical situations. Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate the medical, behavioral, and social science knowledge necessary to effectively evaluate, treat, and manage patients across the lifespan
    2. Demonstrate the ability to effectively recognize, assess, diagnose, and treat patients with a variety of problems seen in the emergent, acute and chronic presentations and clinical practice settings
  • 2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

    Physician Assistant students must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and the healthcare system. Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate knowledge and application of effective and mindful interpersonal skills promoting effective and beneficial patient interactions and outcomes in addition to the effective and beneficial interactions with patient families and other members of the healthcare team.
    2. Communicate in a compassionate, mindful, patient-centered and culturally responsive manner to accurately obtain, interpret and utilize information and implement a patient-centered management plan.
  • 3. Patient Care

    Physician Assistant students must demonstrate care that is effective, safe, high quality, and equitable; includes patient- and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management. Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate the ability to make informed, evidence-based, culturally sensitive decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment
    2. Demonstrate the ability to promote and provide preventative care to patients across the lifespan
    3. Demonstrate the ability to effectively and mindfully work within an interdisciplinary and patient-centered healthcare team
  • 4. Professionalism

    Physician Assistant students must express positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, professionalism involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one’s own while acknowledging professional and personal limitations. Physician Assistant students must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate professionalism in interactions with others including, but not limited to, patients, families, and other members of the healthcare team
    2. Demonstrate knowledge and application of an understanding of the PA role including ethical and professional standards regarding the PA profession
    3. Demonstrate knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements specific to the PA profession
    4. Demonstrate the ability to recognize their own professional and personal limitations in providing care and appropriate patient referral when necessary
  • 5. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

    Physician Assistant students must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices. Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, the student will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate research literature and apply that knowledge to educational and/or practice-based improvement projects promoting improved patient experiences and outcomes.
  • 6. Systems-Based Practice

    Physician assistant students must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the societal, organizational, and economic environments encompassing health care. Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate an understanding of various medical practice and healthcare delivery systems
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of health-care payment systems
    3. Demonstrate the ability to provide effective, evidence-based, and patient-centered care that balances quality and cost-effectiveness.
    4. Demonstrate knowledge and application of public health and preventative care practices
    5. Demonstrate knowledge of national and global health care disparities and practices to reduce these disparities

MPAS Program Policies

Many, but not all of our program-specific policies are listed below. For details regarding other policies, enrolled students can view these in our MPAS Program Student Handbooks available on the EValue system. The policies noted below are in addition to, not necessarily a replacement of E&H College policies as noted in the E&H Academic Catalog, Student Handbook, and Faculty Handbook. Program faculty can view program-specific policies in the Department of PA Studies Faculty Handbook, available on the shared drive.

All program policies apply to all students, principal and full-time faculty, and the program director regardless of location.
  • Academic and Health Services
    The Powell Resource Center

    All graduate students in the Marion campus programs, including MPAS Program students, have full access to the services of the Powell Resource Center - both on the Emory campus and on the Marion campus. These services include academic success services (e.g., academic counseling, exam-taking and study skills), counseling services, and disability support services. To better accommodate the schedules of SHS graduate students, the PRC offers after hours appointments for students on the Marion campus to ensure they can have full and quick access to needed services. SHS graduate students do not have access to formal tutoring services, although all students are assigned faculty advisors and have ready access to course directors throughout their programs. 

    Health Services

    All Emory & Henry College students, including SHS graduate students, are required to have individual health insurance. Although SHS graduate students do not have access to the health center on the Emory campus, they do have access to acute, preventative, and general healthcare services within one mile of our Marion campus, including two local family medicine practice groups (please call the groups first to ensure they accept your health insurance) who have agreed to see our students (Family Physicians of Marion and Smyth County Family Physicians), the Smyth County Community Hospital Emergency Department and First Assist Urgent Care

    Financial Aid, Computing, and Library Services

    Students in the SHS graduate programs, including  MPAS students, have the same access to financial aid, Information Technology, and the Kelly Library as all Emory & Henry College Students.

  • Academic Policies and Requirements for Promotion & Graduation

    ALL MPAS PROGRAM POLICIES APPLY TO ALL STUDENTS, PRINCIPAL FACULTY AND THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR REGARDLESS OF LOCATION.

     

    Policies listed and detailed on the Department of PA Studies Web Pages and in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks are subject to change. Enrolled students are informed when significant changes are made to published policies.


    The MPAS program is designed as a full-time “lock-step” 27-month program consisting of seven consecutive semesters. The semesters are divided between a 13-month didactic phase and a 14-month clinical phase. All program courses must be completed


    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (I.E., CREDIT FOR PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED COURSEWORK) IS NOT AN OPTION

    Attaining the MPAS degree will require the successful completion of all didactic and clinical phase coursework. Specifics regarding course completion deadlines/requirements are noted in course syllabi and/or course-specific moodle classrooms. Unless otherwise noted in the syllabi or Moodle classroom, failing to complete all required course assignments may result in a failing grade for that course and subsequently prevent the student from progressing to the next semester.

    Satisfactory progress through the program requires a minimum passing grade of C (73%) in each course; a 3.00 GPA in each semester, and a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Failing to receive a final passing grade in any didactic phase coursework included in the first 4 semesters, will result in either deceleration or dismissal and automatically prevent students from progressing to the next semester. Failing to receive a passing grade in clinical phase SCPE coursework will result in deceleration or dismissal or require remediation (e.g., repeating a supervised clinical practice experience) automatically resulting in delay of graduation.

    Students in the MPAS Program are expected to complete all coursework in the program in lock-step fashion, successfully completing all required courses each semester to progress to the next semester. In the didactic phase of the program, withdrawal from a course is the equivalent of withdrawing from the program. In the clinical-phase of the program, withdrawing from a SCPE course does not necessarily prevent the students from progressing to the next course, depending on the issues involved, but would automatically result in a delay of graduation.

    Academic Advisors

    All students are assigned an academic advisor, who continues to serve as the student advisor from matriculation to graduation, within the program to monitor their progress and to recommend resources if experiencing academic difficulties (importantly, students do not need referral from program faculty to receive services for college resources such as those offered by the Powell Resource Center). Students who fail to maintain the academic requirements are subject to probation, deceleration, or dismissal (details are noted in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks).

    Achieving and Maintaining Good Academic Standing

    A student must achieve and maintain the required course grade and Cumulative semester Grade Point Averages (GPAs) to remain in good academic standing and graduate from the PA Program. Performance in courses is commonly assessed by written and/or practical examinations, oral presentations and/or research papers. In designated courses throughout the program, grades will be recorded as a raw score and a percentage. At the end of each course the percentage scores will be converted, following the Professionalism Demeanor Multiplier (PDM – described below), to a grade, A through F, for each of the core PA courses. 

    The MPAS Program uses the following grading conversion scale for all course grades:

    • 90-100 = A
    • 80-89 = B
    • 73-79 = C
    • <73 = F
    Details Regarding Progression (i.e., promotion from one semester to the next)

    The following policies apply to student progression in the MPAS Program:

    • Students are required to complete the designated professional curriculum, as designed, in the full-time sequence specified.
    • Progression will be a function of successfully passing all required courses, with a grade of 73% or greater, in each semester, achieving a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of 3.00, continuing to meet all technical standards, and meeting all other program policies/standards in each semester (e.g., immunization and CPR requirements, health insurance requirements, malpractice insurance requirements, student conduct policies/standards).
    • Didactic Phase
      • Each semester’s course work is to be considered pre-requisite to the next semester.
      • Students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort.
      • Failing to receive a passing grade in didactic phase coursework, following all offered exam remediation opportunities, will prevent students from progressing to the next semester.
        • In such cases, students are either dismissed from the program or offered deceleration as explained in the deceleration section below.
      • Clinical Phase
        • Clinical Phase Coursework includes Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs), Research coursework, and the Summative Course.
        • As with the Didactic Phase, coursework will be full-time in the sequence designated and as assigned at the beginning of the clinical phase of training.
          • Although, at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Education, there may be a necessity to change the order of the Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs), there is no possibility to change the order of didactic, research, or summative course work.
        • Students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort.
        • Failing to receive a passing grade in SCPE coursework, will either require SCPE course remediation or result in deceleration or dismissal as described in the Student Clinical Handbook.
        • Remediation for Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) courses will automatically result in delay of graduation.
          • Students are responsible for any associated tuition and fees related to SCPE course remediation.
        • Student are permitted to remediate - via course repeat - two failed SCPE courses.
          • All repeated SCPE courses will take place after the summative phase of the student’s program and, as such, will automatically result in delay of graduation. The student is responsible for any additional tuition and fees related to these additional courses.
          • If a student, on reattempt, fails the same individual SCPE course (i.e., failing the same SCPE course twice), the student will automatically be dismissed from the program.
          • If more than two individual SCPE courses (i.e., two different SCPE courses) are not passed successfully, students will automatically be dismissed from the program.
          • If a student is unsuccessful with passing a third individual SCPE course, even if an earlier SCPE course has been successfully remediated, they will automatically be dismissed from the program.
        • Failing to meet all technical standards and/or student conduct policies/standards, as outlined in this handbook, the Student Clinical Handbook, and the Emory & Henry College Catalog and Student Handbook will result in automatic referral to the Student Progressions Committee and Academic and/or Behavioral Probation and subsequent consequences up to and including deceleration or dismissal from the program.

    Throughout and at the end of each semester, the Student Progression Committee will meet to discuss each student’s level of success. Students who do not attain and maintain a 3.00 semester GPA, do not achieve a passing grade in individual courses, or have student conduct issues during the semester, will receive a letter from the Committee and Department Chair/Program Director notifying them of their evaluation within the Student Profession Committee and their individual progression status. In such cases, progression status can include:

    • For didactic phase coursework:
      • At risk for academic probation, deceleration, or dismissal
      • At risk for behavioral probation, deceleration, or dismissal
      • Academic probation, deceleration, or dismissal
      • Behavioral probation, deceleration, or dismissal
    • For clinical phase coursework:
      • At risk for academic probation, deceleration, or dismissal
      • At risk for behavioral probation, deceleration, or dismissal
      • Academic probation, deceleration or dismissal
      • Behavioral probation, deceleration, or dismissal
      • Required repeat of an SCPE course resulting in delay of graduation

    In the Summative Course, which takes place in the last semester of the program, the student must pass both the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and the comprehensive written final examination components to pass the course

    • Upon passing, and with the completion of all other program requirements, students will be recommended for graduation.
  • Policies and Procedures for Academic & Behavioral Probation, Deceleration, & Dismissal
    DECELERATION AND DISMISSAL

    At the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director with consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee, students may have the opportunity for deceleration. For the purposes of this handbook, deceleration is defined as halting progression in the program while awaiting the start of a future semester to retake coursework, and dismissal is defined as being dismissed from the program without opportunity to return or continue later. Specific to the clinical phase of the program, failing a supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) and repeating that course at the end of the clinical phase of the program, is considered ‘course remediation’ rather than deceleration.

    The following policies apply to deceleration and dismissal:

    • Failure to receive a grade of ‘C’ (≥73.00%) in any course is considered course failure and, in the case of didactic phase coursework, will prevent the student from progressing to the next semester. Depending on the course, course exams may be able to be remediated for grade change, as noted in course syllabi. However, course grades cannot be remediated or changed once finalized by the course director.
      • In the case of a didactic phase course failure, a student will be automatically dismissed or offered the option of deceleration, at the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director with consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee.
    • Failure of more than one course in the didactic phase of the program will automatically result in dismissal from the program. Dismissal under these circumstances is not open to appeal.
    • Failure or remediation of more than two Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) course in the clinical phase of the program, even if a course is successfully repeated, will automatically result in dismissal from the program. Dismissal under these circumstances is not open to appeal.
    • Decelerated students who return to program participation and subsequently fail a course, fail to attain and maintain a cumulative semester 3.0 GPA, fail to meet all technical standards, and/or fail to adhere to any program policies or requirements will automatically be dismissed from the program. Dismissal under these circumstances is not open to appeal.
    • Upon deceleration, students are participating with the next cohort of students and, as such, will be subject to that cohort’s student handbook and student clinical handbook policies and procedures and any new tuition rates and expenses as determined by the College.
    • Deceleration automatically results in delay of graduation and additional financial burdens to the student and may affect financial aid processes.
      • Students are fully responsible for any additional tuition and fees, including changes in tuition and fees resulting from deceleration.
      • Students are advised to discuss these issues with the College’s financial aid personnel prior to making any decisions regarding returning to the program if granted the option of deceleration.
    • If decelerating, the student can miss no more than a consecutive 12-month lapse of time from continuing in the program (i.e., from the time of course failure to the time of reattempt of course).
    • Students will be required to demonstrate maintenance of competency to resume progression in the program.
      • This may involve retaking previously completed courses, successfully completing a written and practical examination within one month of rejoining the program, and/or other activities deemed necessary by the Program.
      • These requirements must be completed prior to resumption of the program.
      • If required to retake previously completed courses, students are responsible for any associated tuition and fees.

    Academic Probation/Academic Deceleration/Academic Dismissal

    • The following students are automatically placed on academic probation and may be subject to deceleration or dismissal:
      • Any student who fails to attain and/or maintain a 3.0 cumulative semester GPA.
      • Any student required to remediate a Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) course.
      • Any student subject to deceleration.
    • Students on probation or at risk for probation, must meet with the following individuals/centers:
      • Academic Advisor
      • Student Progression Committee
      • Powell Resource Center
    • In the didactic phase of the program, a course failure will result in automatic academic probation and either deceleration or dismissal from the program, at the discretion of the program director and in consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee.
    • In the clinical phase of the program, any failing grade on a SCPE course will result in automatic academic probation and either required course repeat (i.e., course remediation), deceleration, or dismissal, depending on the reason(s) for failure of the clinical rotation experience, at the discretion of the program director and in consideration of the recommendation from the Student Progression Committee.
      • If the reasons are deemed significant enough, at the discretion of the program director with consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee, the student may be dismissed from the program.
      • If the reasons are deemed remediable within the structure of the Program, at the discretion of the program director with consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee, students who fail to achieve the required grade in a SCPE course may be given the opportunity to repeat the course after all other SCPEs are completed; this will automatically result in academic probation and a delay of graduation.
      • If the student fails to achieve a passing grade upon the second attempt of the SCPE course or fails another SCPE course, the student will be dismissed from the program.
    • Students cannot be on academic probation for more than two semesters consecutively.
      • If students are not taken off academic probation in the third consecutive semester, they are subject to either deceleration or dismissal from the program, at the discretion of the program director and in consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee.
    BEHAVIORAL PROBATION/BEHAVIORAL DISMISSAL

    Students found to be in violation of the student conduct policies/standards and/or unable to meet the Program defined technical standards are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the program.

    Depending on the violation, and at the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director, students may either be referred to the Student Progression Committee for determination of recommended disposition (i.e., probation vs. deceleration vs. dismissal) or consequences of deceleration or dismissal will be immediately applied.

    • Egregious violations, including, but not limited to, issues of cheating and/or plagiarism, and issues adversely affecting the safety and welfare of others involved in the college and/or clinical sites (e.g., classmates, principal faculty, instructional faculty, staff, patients, campus/clinical site visitors) may result in consequences up to and including immediate dismissal from the program. Depending on the violation, and at the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director, students may either:
      • Be referred to the Student Progression Committee for determination of recommended disposition (i.e., probation vs. deceleration vs. dismissal).
      • Consequences of deceleration or dismissal will be immediately applied.
    • For less serious violations, the following steps will be taken:
      • Step 1: Written warning and academic counseling from Department Chair/Program Director and faculty advisor
      • Step 2: Placement on behavioral probation and academic counseling from Department Chair/Program Director and faculty advisor
        • If students are not removed from behavioral probation within 12 academic weeks, they will automatically be subject to either deceleration or dismissal from the program.
        • If students are placed on behavioral probation on more than one occasion throughout the program, they may be subject to either deceleration or dismissal from the program at the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director with consideration of recommendations from the Student Progressions Committee.
      • Step 3: Program deceleration or dismissal, at the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director with consideration of recommendations from the Student Progression Committee.
  • Policies and Procedures for Infection Control/Prevention and Exposure Response
    Infection Control and Exposure Response

    The safety of all students, staff, faculty, and patients is of primary concern. Therefore, during orientations for both didactic and clinical education phases, PA students are presented with information on personal security and fire safety, in addition to infection control, HIPAA, and OSHA. Furthermore, PA students will be required to complete any clinical site-specific safety or security training requirements in preparation for supervised clinical practice experiences. Students must be aware that risk exists for exposure to infection and environmental disease during the didactic and clinical phases of the Program. PA students, staff, and faculty must adhere to all established Emory & Henry College safety protocols.

    • Didactic-phase students must notify their course director and/or MLFC preceptor as soon as possible of any exposure to bodily fluids, chemical hazards, or potentially serious infectious diseases.
    • Clinical-phase students must notify their SCPE preceptor and the Director of Clinical Education as soon as possible of any exposure to bodily fluids, chemical hazards, or potentially serious infectious diseases.
    • All faculty, staff and students will utilize Standard Precautions (Methods of Prevention as outlined in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks) during all activities that present a risk of exposure to blood/body fluids or chemical hazards. Failure to do so will be grounds for disciplinary action.
    • Students must follow the exposure response plan detailed below in the case of any exposure to blood/body fluids, chemical hazards, or potentially serious infectious diseases.
    • Compliance with all safety practices is a not just good procedure, it is also a mark of your professionalism. Failure to observe and practice Standard Precautions may result in adverse/disciplinary action for unprofessional behavior and referral to the Student Progression Committee.

    Methods of Prevention

    Standard precautions (Methods of Prevention) are the minimum safety and infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care and laboratory or technical skills training experiences in any setting where healthcare or healthcare training is delivered. These practices are designed to protect healthcare professionals (HCP) and prevent HCP from spreading infections to others.

    Methods of Prevention

    Hand Hygiene

    • Good hand hygiene is critical to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

    • Current CDC guidelines recommend use of alcohol-based hand rub for hand hygiene except when hands are visibly soiled (e.g. dirt, blood, body fluids), or after caring for patients with known or suspected infectious diarrhea, in which cases soap and water should be used. Key situations where hand hygiene should be performed include:

      • Before touching a patient, even if gloves will be worn.

      • Before exiting the patient’s care area after touching the patient or the patient’s immediate environment.

      • After contact with blood, body fluids or excretions, or wound dressings.

      • Prior to performing an aseptic task (e.g. placing an IV, preparing an injection).

      • If hands will be moving from a contaminated-body site to a clean-body site during patient care.

      • After glove removal.

    Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

    Exam gloves will be worn when there is risk of contact with or when handling blood or body fluids or when there is a potential for contact with mucous membranes, non-intact skin or body orifice areas, or contaminated equipment. Facial masks, protective eyewear and/or gowns (as well as gloves) will be worn when performing/assisting procedures with a risk of body fluid or other hazardous material splashes or sprays.

    Safe injection practices:

    • No recapping of needles unless required by the specific procedure being performed.

    • Use of self-sheathing needles and/or needleless systems when available.

    • All needles and other disposable sharps will be placed in designated puncture resistant containers as soon as possible after their use.

    Safe handling of potentially contaminated surfaces or equipment:

    • Environmental cleaning: Areas in which patient care activities are performed will be routinely cleaned and disinfected at the conclusion of the activity.

    • Medical equipment safety: Reusable medical equipment must be cleaned and disinfected (or sterilized) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the manufacturer does not provide guidelines for this process the device may not be suitable for multi-patient use.

    Respiratory hygiene/Cough etiquette:

    • Cover mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing.

    • Use and dispose of tissues.

    • Perform hand hygiene after hands have been in contact with respiratory secretions.

    • Consider using a mask to prevent aerosol spread.

    • Sit as far away from others as possible.

    Exposure Response

    Wounds and skin sites that have been in contact with blood or body fluids should be washed with soap and water; mucous membranes should be flushed with water. There is no evidence that the use of antiseptics for wound care or expressing fluid by squeezing the wound further reduces the risk for HIV transmission. However, the use of antiseptics is not contraindicated. Use of caustic agents, e.g., bleach, is not recommended.

    Incident/Injury Form

    • The student must notify her/his supervisor immediately and complete notice of incident forms in use by the clinical site as well as the Student Incident/Injury Form which is posted EValue.

    Medical Evaluation: It is very important that medical evaluation take place immediately because treatment decisions must be made within 2 hours of exposure. HIV prophylaxis for high-risk exposure appears most effective if started within 2–4 hours. It is also extremely important to evaluate the donor’s risk status immediately.

    • The student should report IMMEDIATELY to his or her Clinical Preceptor and also contact the Director of Clinical Education within 24 hours of exposure.
    • If the exposure occurs at an off-campus clinical site, the student should follow the Infection Control policy of that facility. Outside of these hours, the student should go IMMEDIATELY to the nearest urgent care or emergency room.  
      • Note: If the incident occurs at a hospital or large medical facility, that facility’s Employee Health Clinic may be able to do the initial clinical evaluation.

    Program Participation: Continued participation in the activities of the PA program will not be affected by any injury or illness that occurs while enrolled provided the student continues to meet all Technical Standards and fulfill all defined requirements for program progression and is not directly infectious by way of routine contact. Note: This only applies to serious, potentially life-threatening infections.

    Financial Responsibility: Students are mandated to have health insurance throughout their participation in the Program. Students will be financially responsible for all costs incurred during compliance with this policy.

    Laboratory Testing/Treatment: To determine whether treatment of the student is necessary, blood may need to be drawn from the patient (i.e. source of contamination) to evaluate Hepatitis B, C, and HIV status. In a hospital setting the Infection Control Nurse or Nurse Supervisor is often authorized to order these tests on the patient/donor. The Infection Control Nurse or Nurse Supervisor should also review the medical record, question the patient/donor about risk factors, and obtain the patient’s/donor’s consent to do the tests necessary to evaluate their health status. If the exposure occurs in an outpatient setting (and these tests cannot be done), the patient /donor may need to accompany the exposed student for evaluation.

  • Policies and Procedures for Leave of Absences & Withdrawal from Program
    WITHDRAWAL AND READMISSION STATUS/PROCESS

    Students wishing to withdraw from the MPAS program must meet with the Department Chair/Program Director and complete the SHS Withdrawal Form.

    Students who voluntarily withdraw from the Program in good academic standing - without taking a Leave of Absence or Deceleration – may request to be readmitted but will be considered a new applicant and subject to all admissions policies and processes as any other applicant. Additionally, as with all other applicants, advanced standing is not an option and no program or course requirements will be waived.

    Importantly, students are strongly encouraged to meet with the E&H College Financial Aid Office, the E&H College Registrar’s Office, and a counselor at the Powell Resource Center prior to considering withdrawal to best determine financial, academic, and personal issues related to withdrawal. 

    LEAVE OF ABSENCE

    Students seeking a Leave of Absence from the MPAS Program must submit a written request and meet with the Department Chair/Program Director and obtain their permission. Additionally, students seeking a Leave of Absence should be aware of the following stipulations:

    • Acceptable Leave of Absence requests are for personal, financial, or medical reasons.
      • Leave of Absence requests are not granted for academic reasons (e.g., exam failures or imminent course failure).
    • Students may only be granted one leave of absence in each phase (i.e., didactic phase and clinical phase) of the program.
      • If granted during the didactic phase of the program, Leave of Absence will automatically result in deceleration from the program, and all policies and procedures of deceleration will apply.
      • If granted during the clinical phase of the program, a Leave of Absence may be no more than two semesters in length.
        • Students requiring a leave of greater than two semesters will automatically result in deceleration from the program, and all policies and procedures of deceleration will apply.
      • Students must complete the entire curriculum and program within five (5) years of entering the program, regardless of approved leave of absences and/or deceleration.

    The following procedures will apply to students requesting a leave of absence from the program:

    • If a student is denied a Leave of Absence by the Program, he/she may appeal to the Dean of the School of Health Sciences, following the above described appeals processes.
    • The Leave of Absence Agreement will be signed by the Department Chair/Program Director and the student.
    • Once signed, the Leave of Absence agreement will be forward to the Dean of the School of Health Sciences.
    • A date will be established by which the student must notify the Dean and Department Chair/Program Director of their intent to complete the agreement and resume the program.
    • Students will be required to demonstrate maintenance of competency to resume progression in the program.
      • This may involve retaking courses, completion of written or practical examinations, and/or other activities deemed necessary by the program.
      • These requirements must be completed prior to resumption of the program.
      • If required to retake previously completed courses, students are responsible for any associated tuition and fees.
  • Policies and Procedures for Refunds in the Event of Withdrawal
    Refunds in the Event of Withdrawal from the College

    The college operates on an annual budget that necessitates advance planning and financial commitments to teaching staff and others whose services are essential to its operation. For this reason, no semester charges are removed for those persons who are dismissed from the college for disciplinary reasons. Likewise, students who withdraw from the college, even for illness or other emergencies, receive no refunds of room rent or other fees. Adjustments for tuition and board (if applicable) are pro-rated as indicated below. The date of withdrawal used to compute a student’s balance is the date on which the Dean signs the official college withdrawal form. The student who leaves school at one date and waits to withdraw officially at a later date receives appropriate adjustments based on the date of official withdrawal. For an explanation of the procedures for official withdrawal, consult the applicable program policy.

    Student Account Adjustments for College Withdrawals
    • Before the first classes: 100% (less advance deposits)
    • Before end of first week of class: 90% adjustment to tuition and meals*
    • Before end of second week of classes: 75% adjustment to tuition and meals*
    • Before end of third week of classes: 50% adjustment to tuition and meals*
    • Before end of fourth week of classes: 25% adjustment to tuition and meals*
    • After the fourth week of classes: No adjustments are made to tuition or meals*
    • *Meal plans/payments may not be applicable to all students
  • Policies and Procedures for Remediation
    INTRODUCTION

    The Emory & Henry College MPAS Program is specifically formatted to educate students in advanced clinical sciences, enabling graduates to become successful and highly competent Physician Assistants. Because of the difficulty and volume of the information presented, PA programs are well known as some of the most challenging graduate level programs. As such, the below remediation policy was developed with recognition of the following:

    • Physician Assistants need to be self-directed career-long learners of the medical sciences.
    • A major portion of any Physician Assistant educational program involves independent studying.
    • Because of the pace of accelerated PA programs, little opportunity exists for in-class instructional review of previously presented material.
    • The educational process proceeds, week to week, building on previously presented and learned material.
    • Presentations and lectures in the program should be considered supplemental to assigned readings.
    • In order to be successful, students need to continually master presented material on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and/or module-to-module basis.

    Throughout the program, evidence of information mastery is monitored via student performance on written, oral and practical evaluations. Students are encouraged to contact the relevant faculty or instructor at any time to improve their mastery of the material. Student progress is monitored and documented in a manner that promptly identifies deficiencies in knowledge or skills and establishes means for remediation as described herein.

    In some cases, a different and course-specific remediation policy may be applied and, if so, this will be clearly noted in the course syllabus. Course Directors will be available to facilitate remediation when needed. If a Course Director is not available, the Department Chair/Program Director will assign the role to another faculty member.

    Importantly, all student conduct/professionalism policies apply to remediation, including policies related to examinations. For remediations that involve papers, projects, or similar activities, and unless informed differently by the course director, students are expected to work on any remediation assignments alone, and without assistance from others. Failure to do so is considered a violation of student conduct/professionalism policies and subject to consequences up to and including dismissal.

    INTENTION OF THE REMEDIATION POLICY

    Remediation is the re-teaching and re-learning of material for which the student has not achieved mastery. Remediation does not necessarily include post-remediation evaluation/testing. The goal of remediation is to identify, based on course instructional objectives and evidenced by poor performance on examination(s), areas of weaknesses of material, and, once identified, to assist the student in overcoming those weaknesses and develop mastery of the material. Course Directors may allow remediation with other assessment tools/methods at their discretion.

    DIDACTIC PHASE EVALUATION AND COURSE REMEDIATION FOR GRADE CHANGE

    A passing grade for any evaluation/assignment is represented by achieving a grade of 73% or greater. Any grade <73% constitutes failure of an evaluation/assignment and requires remediation for content only.

    • Unless otherwise noted in the course syllabi, a student will be allowed to remediate for grade change no more than three evaluations, including final examinations, per course in the first semester, two evaluations per course in the second semester, and one evaluation per course in the third semester.
      • If a student chooses to remediate an evaluation/examination for a grade change, the student must inform the course director within 24 hours of receiving their grade on the examination.
        • Students will not be permitted to remediate any evaluation/examination if the student does not inform the course director within the 24-hour timeline.
      • If permitted, students can improve one or more failed evaluation/examination grades by a maximum of 15 points or an examination grade of 73%, whichever comes first.
    • Importantly, to receive credit, all remediation assignments and retesting of examinations/evaluations must be completed and submitted by the Course Director’s chosen deadline.
      • Late remediation assignments, examinations/evaluations, regardless of how late, will not be accepted for credit and, as such, students will receive the original final grade on their examination/evaluation.
    • Quizzes cannot be remediated for grade change.
    • In the didactic phase, students must complete all remediation prior to the start of the next semester. Failing to complete remediation will result in a failing course grade and be subject to policies noted above regarding academic standing.
    • The Course Director, after meeting and discussing with the student, will decide on the remediation time-line during the specific semester. At the discretion of the Course Director, remediation(s) may be completed during the semester or during the semester break but must be completed prior to the start of the next semester.
    • Remediation for a failed examination involves a three-step process including:
      • Step 1: Identification of weakness area
        • Students will receive a summary of exam results via the ExamSoft system. The results will include details such as the topic, subtopic, course instructional objective, task area, and source.
      • Step 2: Development of remediation study plan based on the identified area(s) of weakness.
      • Step 3: If applicable, evidencing proficiency of failed material
        • Not all remediation will include post-remediation assessments. This will be detailed in course syllabi. If a post-remediation assessment does occur, students will be reassessed by the Course Director after completion of the remediation. The assessment activity may vary, at the discretion of the Course Director and depending on the nature of deficiency and degree of remediation necessary. The activity may include, but not be limited to:
          • Make-up written, oral, or practical examination
          • Written completion of selected course instructional objectives with reference citations
          • Written response to selected examination items with reference citations
          • Problem based learning exercise(s) focused on area(s) of weakness
          • Written self-reflection exercise(s)
    CLINICAL PHASE REMEDIATION

    SCPE course grades are comprised of End-of-Rotation Examinations (EOREs), logging of patient cases and clinical experience hours, professionalism, and preceptor evaluations. Remediation processes in the clinical phase mostly mirror the didactic phase policies and processes other than as noted below:

    • End of Rotation Examinations (EOREs)
      • EORE grades can be remediated as follows:
        • Students are permitted to remediate up to two End of Rotation Examinations (EOREs) as detailed in the Clinical Handbook.
        • Failed items must be remediated as noted in the Student Clinical Handbook. Students will be given a grade of incomplete in the applicable clinical rotation course until the items are successfully remediated.
        • Failed items on the last clinical rotation may result in delay of graduation.
      • Preceptor Evaluations
        • Students will not be allowed to remediate preceptor evaluations
      • Failed grade on clinical preceptor evaluation or failure to achieve a final rotation grade of at least 73%.
        • Students receiving <73% on the preceptor evaluation portion of the rotation grade or <73% on the rotation final grade will be considered to have not achieved mastery on that particular rotation and will receive a failing grade for the rotation
      • Patient Logging and Student Evaluation of SCPE and Preceptor
        • Students will not be allowed to remediate patient logging and SCPE evaluation deficiencies.
        • Students will need to log all patient encounters and complete all evaluations to advance to the next rotation.
      • SCPE Course Failure
        • For students receiving a failing grade on a SCPE, students may be given the opportunity to remediate the rotation by completing a second rotation of the same type (e.g., Emergency Medicine).
        • The decision to permit remediation of a rotation depends in part on the reasons behind the failure; such decisions will be made by achieving consensus between the Department Chair/Program Director, Medical Director, and the Director of Clinical Education.
        • Students are permitted to remediate a maximum of two individual SCPEs.
          • See the information detailed above in the Academic Policies/Requirements for Promotion & Graduation and Policies and Procedures for Academic & Behavioral Probation, Deceleration & Dismissal sections of this webpage.
      • End-of-Program Comprehensive Summative Written and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Failure
        • All students are required to pass both the end-of-program comprehensive summative written and OSCE evaluations with a score of 80% or higher.
        • If a student scores <80%, they will be allowed to remediate and reattempt each evaluation prior to their graduation date.
        • If a student scores <80% on the post-remediation evaluation attempt, they will be required to complete extra coursework, including but not limited to repeating a family medicine SCPE, in addition to extra didactic training. In such cases the student’s graduation will be delayed; the student is responsible for any subsequent tuition and fees related to the extra coursework.
  • Policies and Procedures for Student Complaints, Discrimination, & Social Harassment
    STUDENT COMPLAINT FOR CLASSMATE CODE OF CONDUCT ISSUE

    Students are expected to do their utmost to help maintain a high level of conduct among fellow students, monitoring themselves for adherence to program policies, particularly policies regarding student conduct and professionalism. This mirrors what is expected of licensed practitioners in medical/healthcare settings. The following policies and processes apply:

    • If a student witnesses another student not adhering to program policies on student conduct and professionalism, if not an egregious violation and safe to do so, students are requested to speak with the individual. If the issue fails to resolve, students are then expected to report the issue to their course director and/or faculty advisor.
    • If an egregious violation (e.g., issues of cheating and/or plagiarism, issues adversely affecting the safety and welfare of others involved in the college and/or clinical sites), students are expected to report the incident immediately to their course director and/or faculty advisor.
    • Importantly, the program and faculty are generally unable to address hearsay or unverifiable reports of student conduct and professionalism violations. Anonymous reports or complaints will not be accepted (this does not apply to course and faculty evaluations which, in most circumstances, are anonymous). 
    • Reports of cheating must be reported within 24 hours of the act so the complaint can be appropriately addressed.
    • The program and faculty will not inform other students (including students who initially reported the incident) of any actions taken or disposition of issues towards another student at any time.
    • The program and faculty will not share the names of reporters to other students in the program. However, reporters may be called before the student progression committee and/or graduate studies committee to verify the complaint.
    STUDENT COMPLAINT FOR PROGRAM-RELATED ISSUE 

    If a student has a complaint, it is recommended that they first contact the course director/department/program/office directly involved regarding the issue and seek resolution. The staff or faculty member may ask for additional information and may schedule an appointment to address the concern. If the student does not feel comfortable directly contacting the staff or faculty member connected to the complaint, the student can speak with the director/supervisor of that area.

    If resolution with the office is not possible, the student should submit a formal written and signed complaint to the Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator.

    The formal complaint should include:

    • The actual complaint stated as specifically as possible, and
    • The desired outcome.

    Each student has the right to seek a remedy to a dispute or disagreement. Specific policies and procedures are outlined in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks pertaining to appeals for grades and student conduct, and in the College’s Academic Catalog or Student Handbook pertaining to other issues such as parking tickets and student records. In these cases, published policies and procedures are applied. In issues that are not covered by these policies and procedures, students have a right to file a complaint and request resolution.

    The Dean of the School of Health Sciences or their designee will be assigned to address the complaint in a timely manner and to the best of their ability. Appropriate actions will be taken to resolve the issue for the student and to improve services in the future. If the problem is not resolved, the complainant may request a meeting with the President of the College. This policy does not apply to academic grade disputes, Title IX issues, or other published policies and procedures.

    In the event that a student has a concern that they would like to express anonymously, the College participates in a service called the Campus Conduct Hotline at (866) 943-5787. The Campus Conduct Hotline system is available for use around the clock, seven days a week. Because the Hotline is operated by an independent organization, any calls made through this Hotline are completely confidential. The Hotline operator will record the complaint or concern and forward it to the appropriate staff member at the College for review and action as appropriate. Callers to the Hotline may remain anonymous.

    DISCRIMINATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY

    In compliance with Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws, and in accordance with our values Emory & Henry College does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community, to include faculty, staff, students, visitors, vendors, contractors or third parties, against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information in matters of employment, admissions, housing, services, or its educational programs and activities. Emory & Henry College affirms the dignity and worth of every individual.

    Definitions

    1. Discrimination is an act or communication that alters an individual’s or group’s ability to completely participate in Emory & Henry’s community on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or gender expression.
    2. Social Harassment is conduct and/or verbal action which, because of its severity, interferes with an individual’s or group’s work or education, or adversely affects living conditions.
    3. Hostile Environment is caused by behavior that is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by the College. It is considered to be disruptive to the educational community.
    4. Mediation is a facilitated discussion that is conducted with the assistance of a trained third party. It is designed to help the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of a dispute and may be appropriate when:
      • The parties wish to continue communicating or working together.
      • The complaining party is able to articulate a desired outcome.
      • No one has been physically harmed.

    Restorative Justice Resolution

    Once a formal complaint is filed with the Dean of Students or the Director of Human Resources, parties involved can request a restorative justice resolution process. The restorative justice resolution process often provides an effective means of communicating about the effects of behavior and can lead to resolving most disputes. The complainant, respondent, or a college official must agree to the restorative justice process. Parties involved may terminate the resolution process at any time and initiate the student conduct process. (Please note that based on the nature of the complaint or if a pattern of this behavior is documented, social justice resolution may not be an option.)

    1. Discussion with Respondent: The complainant and respondent can elect to discuss the concerns directly with the other party involved, before any actions of other parties or college officials. The respondent may not understand that their conduct is offensive and unwelcome. Many arguments can be resolved or handled quickly with this form of communication. A complaint brought to the attention of the respondent shortly after the allegedly offensive behavior occurs can usually result in effective resolution. If an effective resolution is not obtained by the discussion, then the complainant or respondent has the option to discuss the alleged offensive behavior with a college official or a mediator.
    2. Discussion with College Officials or Mediators: A complainant or respondent can speak with or discuss concerns with a friend, confidant, advisor, or counselor. In order to initiate a social justice resolution with college officials or mediators, a complainant should contact a college official or a Student Life staff member in a timely manner. (College officials include the President of the College, Dean of Students, and Dean of Faculty.) If the complainant, respondent, or the college official involved in the restorative justice resolution feels that this option will not bring an effective resolution, they can terminate the resolution process and initiate the formal student conduct process.
    3. The Restorative Justice Discussion can help with any or all of the following:
      • Helping the complainant and respondent decide whether the behavior violates the policy and/or to educate students more about the policy itself.
      • Meeting with the respondent whose behavior is alleged to be offensive or unwelcome and help them understand or make it clear that the alleged behavior is unwelcome and should stop immediately.
      • Organizing an investigation with the hope and goal of ending the alleged behavior in an expeditious manner.
      • The resolution process will last as long as the complainant and respondent deem it desirable to continue to meet with the college official or mediator(s) designated above. Most complaints can be handled within a timely manner.
    4. What is Restorative Justice?
      • Restorative Justice is a collaborative decision-making process that includes harmed parties, offenders, and others who are seeking to hold offenders accountable by having them (a) accept and acknowledge responsibility for their offenses (b) to the best of their ability, repair the harm they caused to harmed parties and the community, and work to rebuild trust by showing understanding the harm, addressing personal issues, and building positive social connections. The resolution process will last as long as the complainant and respondent deem it desirable to continue to meet with the college official or mediator(s) designated above. Most complaints can be handled within a timely manner. Documents regarding the resolution of the Restorative Justice process will be keep in the Dean of Students Office.
  • Policies and Procedures for Student Grievances/Appeals

    Emory & Henry College staff and faculty strive to provide each student with positive educational experiences. Even so, it is understandable that complaints will arise from time to time. To address and resolve concerns as quickly as possible, all students are encouraged to address complaints to the Department Chair/Program Director. If the complaint is about the Department Chair/Program Director, students should address the complaint to the Dean of the School of Health Sciences.

    As long as the instructor is following program-specific policies and procedures – which, at a minimum, align with ARC-PA accreditation standards - the principle of academic freedom gives an instructor broad discretion in establishing goals for a course, the criteria by which student achievement is to be assessed, and mak­ing decisions about the student’s accomplishment according to those criteria. Thus, except in unusual circumstances, an instructor’s decision about a grade will not be overruled.

    APPEALS PROCESSES

    MPAS students have the right to appeal some, but not all deceleration and dismissal decisions. If students elect to appeal the decision, they must abide by the following policies:

    • If a student chooses to appeal the decision - the Department Chair/Program Director informs students about all decisions regarding deceleration or dismissal - students must inform the Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Dr. Lou Fincher (lfincher@ehc.edu), in writing no later than 24 hours from being informed of the decision, requesting that the appeal be addressed by the SHS Graduate Studies Committee (GSC).
    • The SHS Dean will determine if the GSC should be activated and notify the GSC Chairperson.
      • The Chair of the GSC will select a date for the committee to meet and inform the SHS Dean, the MPAS Program Director, and the student.
      • When activated by the SHS Dean, the GSC will meet within ten (10) business days to consider the appeal.
      • In considering the appeal, the GSC will review all relevant information and may select to interview all involved parties deemed relevant to the appeal.
      • Although not obligated, the student filing the appeal will have the opportunity to present their ‘case’ to the GSC.
      • Every attempt will be made to select a date and time that does not interfere with the student’s academic activities.
      • The student cannot request a different date or time for the meeting than that selected by the GSC.
      • The student cannot be represented or accompanied by anyone at the hearing, including, but not limited to legal counsel.
      • Under no circumstances is the student permitted to electronically record any part of the meeting.
      • The GSC will have three (3) business days from the date of the committee meeting to make its decision and notify the SHS Dean, the MPAS Program Director, and the student.
    • Depending on the issues leading to the deceleration or dismissal decision, and at the discretion of the Department Chair/Program Director and in consideration of recommendations from the Student Progressions Committee, students may or may not be permitted to continue in their academic studies pending the appeal decision.
      • If permitted to continue in their academic studies, the student is responsible for all tuition and college fees incurred while pending the completion of the appeals process, even if the appeal is not supported.
      • If the student is either not permitted or chooses not to continue in their academic studies pending the appeal process, and the appeal is supported, the student will either:
        • If in the didactic phase of the program, be automatically placed on deceleration.
        • If in the clinical phase of the program, be permitted to repeat the SCPE resulting in an automatic delay-of-graduation.
        • Regardless of the decelerating or delay of graduation, the student is responsible for all associated tuition and fees.
  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Attendance

    The MPAS Program has a mandatory attendance policy for required activities. PA students are expected to be in attendance for all didactic and clinical activities. The MPAS Program’s block schedule specifically includes time when students are not involved in class, lab or MLFC activities such that, if needed, students can attend to outside appointments (e.g., medical appointments).

    TIMELY ACCESS TO SERVICES ADDRESSING PERSONAL ISSUES WHICH MAY IMPACT STUDENT PROGRESS IN THE MPAS PROGRAM

    The Department and MPAS Program are committed to the personal and academic success and well-being of all students, including timely access to services addressing personal issues which may impact progress in the PA program. Although it is ideal if students receive services outside of their classroom hours, and, as noted below, time is included in the schedule for such activities, given the course load in the program this is not always possible. In such cases when timely access is otherwise not possible due to severity, access, or after hours availability, the MPAS Program permits students class release time to receive services from healthcare providers and the Powell Resource Center - including academic success services, counseling, and disability support services.

    PERSONAL DAYS

    Recognizing the incredible time commitment in the didactic phase of the program, and understanding that many students will greatly benefit from a rare day off without risking academic success, the MPAS program faculty have adopted a policy permitting one personal day off per semester for didactic phase students. Personal days do not need to be excused by program faculty, but students must adhere to the following:

    • A maximum of one personal day per semester is permitted and can only be taken in the didactic-phase summer, fall, and spring semesters.
    • Partial personal days (e.g., missing one course) count as full personal days (i.e., time cannot be saved or banked).
    • Students are fully responsible for any materials presented on missed days.
    • A personal day cannot be taken on the day of any written, practical or lab examinations.
    • A personal day cannot be taken on the day of Clinical Skills lab activities and/or group assignment activities in any coursework.
    • A personal day cannot be taken in succession with school breaks, holidays, or requested excused absences.
    • Students must still submit the Didactic-Phase Student Absence From Program Activity Form.
    • The Didactic-Phase Student Absence From Program Activity Form must be submitted to all course directors at least 24 hours in advance of the absence.
    • The MPAS Program reserves the right to deny personal days for students at risk of or on academic and/or behavioral probation, and for students taking two or more absences during one or more semesters.
    • Violation of any of the above policies will result in an unexcused absence and enforcement of MPAS Program policies as detailed in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks. 
    ABSENCES FROM REQUIRED ACTIVITIES

    Other than posted holidays, semester breaks, personal days. and when released from the program, students should expect to be present on campus from 8:00am to 5:00pm EST, Monday through Friday in addition to one-to-two weekly evening hours for scheduled MLFC, sim lab, and service activities, and occasional Saturday hours for make-up classes.

    In addition to semester breaks and semester holidays, and personal days, the MPAS Program includes time off on some Monday mornings and most weekday late afternoons. The student schedule, which should always be viewed as subject to change, is posted prior to the start of each semester in the Google Calendar. If time-off is not indicated in the calendar schedule, students are expected to be on-campus for program required classes and activities. Given the amount of semester breaks, holidays, personal days, and scheduled time-off, additional absences may significantly adversely affect a student’s learning and subsequent mastery of material.

    In the event of personal extenuating circumstances (including outside appointments), the student is to notify the Course Director(s) a minimum of 24-hours in advance of classes/activities by submitting the program-specific Absence for Program Activity Form via the EValue system; one form must be submitted separately to every course director for courses to be missed. In the event of illness, family issue (e.g., family illness, child’s illness), or emergency or crises, the student is to notify the Course Director(s) as soon as possible on the day of instruction utilizing the same form and process detailed above. Different processes exist for Clinical-Phase activities as detailed below.

    The following policies apply to all other absences:

    • For absences occurring during schedule examinations, evaluations, and quizzes, please refer to the Examination Policies section of this handbook.
    • For all absences, students must submit the appropriate form to each Course Director holding classes/activities during the time of the absence.
      • Submitting the form in no way guarantees that the absence will be approved and excused.
      • The Course Director will determine if the absence is considered an excused absence, on a case-by-case basis. The course director’s decision is to be considered final.
    • It is the responsibility of the student to contact the Course Directors regarding making up any missed work and fill out the required absence form.
    • An extended absence (i.e., absence >3 days) will be addressed by the Department Chair/Program Director in consultation with all MPAS Program principal faculty.
    • Submitting an absence form does not guarantee approval of an excused absence. Excessive requests of three or more per semester will result in a professionalism evaluation.
    • PA students are expected to be in attendance at all scheduled meetings with faculty and staff in the Department of PA Studies. It is considered unprofessional for students to cancel scheduled meetings with faculty/staff for other meetings/activities without prior approval of at least 24 hours’ notice, unless an emergency.
    • PA students are expected to be present for all clinical rotation activities, including supervised clinical practice experiences and call-back-day activities as established by the Director of Clinical Education and according to the schedule provided by the preceptor in each rotation.
      • The student should notify the Director of Clinical Education and their Preceptor of any absence.
      • An extended absence from clinical rotation will be addressed by the Director of Clinical Education and the Department Chair/Program Director.
      • For more information on excused and unexcused absences and consequences during the clinical phase of training, refer to the Program’s Clinical Student Handbook.
    • PA students are expected to remain available on campus for all scheduled activities in the program, including but not limited to remediation activities and advisor meetings. Failure to do so is considered unprofessional behavior and subject to professionalism policies.
    • Repetitively requesting (i.e., >2 per semester) to be off campus or absent from scheduled activities is considered unprofessional behavior and subject to professionalism policies.
    • For the didactic phase of the program, more than five excused absences is considered to be an issue with professionalism or the ability to meet all of the MPAS Program’s technical standards and, as such, may result in students being placed on Behavioral Probation and associated consequences up to and including deceleration or dismissal from the program.
    • For the clinical phase of the program, even though students are required to make-up all absences, more than one excused absence each semester is considered to be an issue with professionalism or the ability to meet all of the MPAS Program’s technical standards and, as such, may result in students being placed on Behavioral Probation and associated consequences up to and including deceleration or dismissal from the program.
  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Employment While Enrolled in the Program
    EMPLOYMENT WHILE ENROLLED STRONGLY DISCOURAGED

    Because of the pace and rigor of the program, students are strongly discouraged from working while in the program. Please keep in mind that PA education is well known to be among the most difficult of graduate education experiences. Experience has taught us that students holding employment during enrollment struggle significantly more than other students in regard to academic success.

    The following guidelines are meant to help the student in deciding about work during their participation in the PA Program:

    • Again, employment while enrolled is strongly discouraged.
    • Students who work are encouraged to make this known to their academic advisor.
    • Students who are working and find themselves in academic difficulty will be advised to consider terminating that work.
    • Coursework and all required activity schedules will not be altered to conform to employment. Your education must remain your primary responsibility when balancing work and school.

    POLICY PROHIBITING WORKING FOR THE MPAS PROGRAM OR CLINICAL SITES

    While a student may be invited by a faculty member to share her/his experience in a specific area with the class, a student may not, at any time during enrollment, be employed by the program or serve for or function as instructional faculty. Additionally, students cannot, at any time during enrollment, substitute for clinical or administrative staff on Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs) or other clinical practice activities (e.g., when at the Mel Leaman Free Clinic).

  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Examinations/Quizzes & Grading

    Grading policies and procedures are identified within course syllabi. In some cases, specific course grading policies and procedures may differ from the below; in such cases, specifics will be noted in syllabi. All rubrics related to grading evaluations are printed within course syllabi and/or the Moodle classroom.

    CHALLENGING OF EXAM/QUIZ GRADES

    As an exam item analysis is performed on all multiple-choice question examinations, an analysis is performed on all practical examinations, and a similar analysis is performed on short answer and essay examination questions, students are not permitted to challenge examination items for grade change, examination grades, or course grades.

    For Individual Readiness Assessment Tests (IRATs)/Group Readiness Assessment Tests (GRATs), the GRAT is considered remediation for the IRAT and, given this, students are not permitted to challenge IRAT/GRAT quiz grades.

    • For non-IRAT/GRAT quiz grades, a quiz item analysis is performed similar to that of examinations and, given this, students are not permitted to challenge quiz grades.
    EXAMINATION PROCESS AND SPECIFIC EXAMINATION POLICIES

    Introduction

    With a goal of establishing and maintaining examination security and best preparing students for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE), the Program incorporates similar test-taking policies and procedures as the NCCPA. These policies include test-taking procedures, absence and tardiness policies, assessment of exam and exam item validity, and remediation.

    General Policies and Procedures

    • The program carefully schedules all examinations with consideration of class schedules, room availability, timing of other examination, etc. As such, once an examination is scheduled, students may not request changes in examination dates or times.
    • Writing or reproducing (including, but not limited to, verbal) an exam or any components of an exam (content, questions and/or answers) represents a student conduct/academic integrity policy violation and full and appropriate consequences will be applied in all occurrences.
    • At the time of administration of an examination, PA students must follow all the instructions of the examination proctor and adhere to all program examination policies.
      • A student who fails to follow the proctor’s instructions and/or fails to follow all program examination policies, may result in the student being dismissed from the examination. If dismissed, the student will automatically receive a grade of zero on the examination and will not be permitted to retake the examination.
      • Any violation of examination and/or student conduct policies, including but not limited to cheating, during an examination will result in an automatic grade of zero for that examination and the student will not be permitted to retake the examination.
    • When taking an examination, students are only permitted to have at their exam taking table/station the following items:
      • Computer/Tablet on which the student will be taking the examination
      • Program provided white-board
      • Program provided white-board marker/pen
    • When taking an examination, and unless permitted by the exam proctor, students are not permitted to have the following items:
      • Audio-visual recording devices, hats, drink containers including water bottles, non-program provided paper or white-board, non-program provided pens or markers, watches of any type, cell phones – even if turned off, backpacks, wallets, purses, or similar items, notebooks, notepads, tissues, handkerchiefs, or similar items.
      • Any other items determined by the exam proctor(s) to potentially risk exam security.
      • All other items must be placed in a location determined by the exam proctor.
        • Generally, student backpacks and non-permitted items will be placed against the wall at the front or side of the room and away from student access
      • Unless approved prior to the start of the exam, students will not be permitted to leave the room once the exam has started, including, but not limited to, for use of the bathroom.
        • If an exam is longer than 90 minutes, students will be permitted scheduled breaks to use the restroom and water fountains.
    • Violating student conduct & professionalism policies at any point during an examination or quiz will result in an automatic grade of zero for that evaluation and this grade cannot be challenged or appealed. 

    Time Allotted for Examinations

    The NCCPA has a 1-minute per question time allotment for the PANCE (e.g., a 60-question exam is allotted a total duration of 60 minutes). Recognizing that our students are entry-level PA students gaining greater proficiency as they progress through their studies, the Program transitions students to the 1-minute duration rule as follows:

    • In the first semester, students will be allotted 90 seconds per written examination question (e.g., a 60-question examination will be allotted a total duration of 90 minutes).
    • In the second semester, students will be allotted 75 seconds per written question (e.g., a 60-question examination will be allotted a total duration of 75 minutes).
    • In the third semester and beyond, students will be allotted 60 seconds per question (e.g., a 60-question examination will be allotted a total duration of 60 minutes).

    Examination Analysis, Grading, Grade Posting, and Remediation

    The E&H MPAS program utilizes an assessment program software that helps faculty build and deliver written assessments, better ensure exam securing prior to, during, and after examination delivery, better analyze examinations for effectiveness and integrity, and deliver reports to students on individual strengths and weakness for completed written examinations. Given this, the program has the following policies:

    • No written computerized examination grades are final until the examination analysis process has been completed.
      • The outcome of examination analysis may result in exam questions being discarded or alternative answers accepted (e.g., rekeying of the correct answer or accepting more than one correct response).
      • If a question is discarded, the grade of the examination will be calculated on the remaining questions.
        • In rare cases, all students may be given credit for a discarded question.
      • As each examination is analyzed for exam item validity, students are not permitted to challenge examination questions for a grade change or challenge final examination grades.
        • Unless otherwise noted in the course syllabus, students will not have the opportunity to submit “extra-credit” work or complete an alternative process offering an opportunity to receive a higher score than originally achieved on graded evaluations/assignments (e.g., quizzes, examinations, practical evaluations, papers, projects).
      • Upon completion of a computerized examination, students will automatically and immediately see their raw score on the examination.
        • The raw score represents the pre-analysis examination grade and not the final examination grade.
        • The raw score will not be posted in the Moodle grade book. Students are encouraged to write down their raw scores after leaving the examination room for comparison to final exam grades posted after the examination analysis process
      • Upon completion of the examination analysis process, the course director will determine the student’s post-analysis examination grade and compare this to the student’s raw score.
        • The student’s final examination grade will be the highest grade received in comparing the raw score to the post-analysis examination score. This grade will be posted in the Moodle classroom.
      • A passing grade for any evaluation/assignment is represented by achieving a grade >73%. Any grade <73% constitutes failure of an evaluation/assignment and requires remediation for content.
      • Once final examination grades are posted, the course director will post grades in Moodle and release exam results to students, including a Strengths and Improvement Opportunities Report.
        • The Strengths and Improvement Opportunities Report identifies areas in which re-study is recommended to master the material assessed by the examination.
        • Delivery of the strengths and weakness report is considered the first step of the student remediation process.
          • The second step of the remediation process would occur when the student re-studies material identified by the report as representing a weakness.
          • It is important to understand that remediation does not necessarily include post-remediation assessment.

    Absence at Time of Examination

    • If a student is absent from a scheduled exam, a legitimate excuse must be offered prior to administration of the exam or, in the case of a true emergency, as soon as possible. See the section on this handbook on absences.
    • Examinations will be rescheduled only if the absence is formally excused and with the specific permission of the Course Director(s).
      • Notifying the Course Director and/or submitting the absence form (Appendix II) in no way guarantees that the absence will be excused, and that postponement of an examination will be permitted. If not formally excused, the student will receive a grade of zero on the missed examination.
    • In some cases, reporting of final exam grades to the class may be delayed until all students have taken the exam.
    • The date, time, and content of make-up examinations will be determined by the Course Director.
      • Unless otherwise determined by the Course Director, make-up examinations must be taken within seven days of the original scheduled date.
      • Although make-up examinations will test the same knowledge content as the original examination, the style (e.g., written, oral, skills testing) and type of questions may differ from the original examination as determined by and at the discretion of the Course Director.
    • Unless otherwise approved by the Director of Didactic Education, in consideration of recommendations from Course Directors, students are not permitted to receive an excused absence for more than one exam in each course in any semester and more than one final exam in any semester.
      • Specific to the clinical phase of the program, unless otherwise approved by the Director of Clinical Education, students will not be permitted to receive an excused absence for more than one end-of-rotation examination for any supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) course throughout the entire clinical phase of the program.
    • Repeated requests for or absences from examinations (i.e., greater than three episodes in the didactic phase of the program and greater than one episode in the clinical phase of the program) is considered to represent an issue with student conduct, professionalism, and or the meeting of technical standards and, as such, may result in consequences as specified other sections of this handbook.

    Tardiness at Time of Examination

    • Time allocated for examinations will not be extended if a student(s) arrives late.
      • In example, if a student arrives 30 minutes late for a 60-minute exam, the student will only have 30 minutes to complete the exam.
    • If a student believes the tardiness resulted from a legitimate and unforeseen event, that student has two choices on how to proceed:
      • The student may go to the testing site and take the examination in whatever time remains for that examination – extended time will not be given, even if the tardiness is later excused.
      • The student may inform the Course Director as soon as possible with the appropriate absence form, and preferably prior to the exam, for a determination as to whether the tardiness is, indeed, representative of an excused absence.
        • In such cases, the student will not be permitted to sit for the exam as planned.
        • Notifying the Course Director and/or submitting the absence form in no way guarantees that the tardiness/absence will be excused, and that postponement of an examination will be permitted. If not formally excused, the student will receive a grade of zero on the missed examination.
        • If the Course Director does not recognize the tardiness as representative of an excused absence, the student will not be allowed to make-up the exam, resulting in a grade score of zero for that examination. Please see “Professionalism Exhibited Through Attendance” for more information.
        • At the discretion of the Course Director, tardiness due to legitimate and unforeseen reasons may be considered an excused absence, permitting a student to take a make-up examination. Please see the policies above regarding Absence at Time of Examination.
      • Repeated episodes of tardiness (i.e., >3 episodes in either the didactic phase of the program or clinical phase of the program) is considered to represent an issue with student conduct, professionalism, and or the meeting of technical standards and, as such, may result in consequences as specified other sections of this handbook.

    Late Assignments

    Some courses include student assignments with due dates. Due dates will be specified in course syllabi. The following policies apply to late assignments:

    • Unless otherwise specified in the course syllabus, all assignments are due on the due date by 4:00pm North American Eastern Standard Time (NAEST) and, when applicable, North American Eastern Daylight Time (NAEDT).
    • If submitted any time past deadline, even if submitted on the posted due date for the assignment, the final grade for all late assignments will be automatically reduced by 10%.
    • The final grade for late assignments will be further reduced by 10% for each day the assignment is past deadline (including weekends, holidays, and semester breaks).
    • Repeated episodes of submitting late assignments (i.e., >3 episodes in either the didactic phase or clinical phase of the program) is considered to represent an issue with student conduct, professionalism, and or the meeting of technical standards and, as such, may result in consequences up to an including dismissal from the program.
  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Immunizations and Tuberculosis Testing

    All students are required to provide proof of immunization prior to matriculation in the MPAS Program*. As students will begin clinical experiences on their first week of the Program, unless otherwise noted, all students must provide documentation that the following immunizations and Tb testing has been completed prior to matriculation and maintain immunizations and complete annual Tb testing throughout their training.

    For immunizations, the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program adheres to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommended Vaccines for Healthcare Workers

    • Hepatitis B Series: Documented evidence from a medical practitioner of a complete HepB vaccine series or serologic proof of immunity, or evidence of contraindication*. Please note the Hepatitis vaccination is a series of 3 vaccines completed over 6 months’ time.
    • Flu (Influenza): All students are required to receive and maintain annual influenza immunization. For incoming students, proof of immunization, or evidence of contraindication*, must be received by the Fall of their matriculation year and annually thereafter.
    • MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella): Documented evidence from a medical practitioner of a complete MMR vaccine series, serologic proof of immunity, or evidence of contraindication*
    • Varicella (Chickenpox): Documented evidence from a medical practitioner for a history of having chickenpox, varicella vaccination, serologic proof of immunity, or evidence of contraindication*
    • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis): Documented evidence from a medical practitioner of TdaP vaccine within last 10 years or contraindication to vaccination*
    • Tuberculosis Testing: Documented evidence from a medical practitioner of negative two-step PPD testing and, if needed, negative Chest X-Ray results if PPD positive, or evidence of contraindication*. Following initial two-step PPD, one-step PPD required annually.
    • Meningococcal: Recommended for those who are routinely exposed to isolates of N. meningitidis per CDC recommendations. Not required by program but may be required by some clinical sites.

    *Contraindications to the above will be considered on a case-by-case basis, only with documentation from a medical provider, and must be discussed prior to matriculation. Personal/Religious reasons for declining immunizations will be considered on a case by case basis and must be discussed prior to matriculation. It is important to understand that participating in some clinical experiences may be prohibited from some institutions/practices without completion of immunization requirements.

  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Soliciting Clinical Preceptors & Clinical Sites
    STUDENTS MUST NOT SOLICIT CLINICAL PRECEPTORS OR SITES WITHOUT PROGRAM APPROVAL

    The MPAS program has secured all supervised clinical experience practice (SCPE) sites and preceptors for all matriculated students. At no time do students need to assist in finding their own SCPE preceptors or sites.

    • The vast majority of clinical sites are within a one hour drive from the Marion SHS campus (students will not need to relocate for their supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs)!
    • We do have a few robust clinical sites that are around 90 minutes away. For these sites, there are monies available to provide brief, temporary housing for students whenever driving to or from the site is potentially hazardous (e.g., due to student fatigue, sleepiness, and weather related events).

    Consistent with accreditation standards, the MPAS Program does not require present or future students to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. Additionally, the program coordinates all  clinical sites and preceptors for program required rotations.

    OPTION FOR RECOMMENDING CLINICAL PRECEPTORS OR SITES

    The program does have an option for students to recommend clinical preceptors and sites, although this is absolutely not necessary. Presently, this can only be done for a maximum of one elective SCPE and/or the preceptorship at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Education. Regardless, at no time are students permitted to even begin discussions with clinical preceptors or clinical sites - even if they have friends, family, and previous employers who have offered their services - without first checking with the Director of Clinical Education who will then evaluate each preceptor and site for appropriateness to become a SCPE. Recommending a preceptor or site in no way guarantees approval of the site or preceptor for a future clinical rotation.

    OPTION FOR SUPERVISED CLINICAL PRACTICE EXPERIENCES OUTSIDE OF THE REGION

    The program does allow students to complete up to two rotations outside of the region, at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Education. Presently, this is limited to the preceptorship. The above policies and procedures apply. 

  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Timely Access and/or Referral of Students to Services Addressing Personal Issues

    The Department and MPAS Program are committed to the personal and academic success and well-being of all students, including timely access to services addressing personal issues which may impact progress in the PA program.

    In the case of an urgent or emergent medical need, students should pursue medical services emergently regardless of program activities. Although, other than in the case of a true emergency, faculty are not permitted to provide healthcare to students, they may assist students in securing referral for appropriate care if needed.

    Importantly, students do not need faculty/program referral for any E&H College services, including but not limited to, the Powell Resource Center (students are strongly encouraged to meet with Powell Resource Center staff at the beginning of the program and before problems may develop). The following links may be helpful:

    Although it is ideal if students receive services outside of their classroom hours, and time is built in to the weekly schedule for such activities, given the course load in the program this is not always possible. In such cases when timely access is otherwise not possible due to severity/emergent nature of issue, access to care, or after hours availability of services (e.g., financial aid office, registrar’s office, business office), the MPAS Program permits students class release time to receive services, including services from healthcare providers and the Powell Resource Center (academic success services, counseling, and disability support services). When non-emergent, the PRC will make every attempt to provide services limiting disruptions to a student’s academic schedule. The following policies apply to such instances:

    • For planned absences, students must submit the program required Absence for DIdactic-Phase or Clinical-Phase Activity Form prior to the absence.
    • For unplanned absences, students must submit the program required Absence from Didactic-Phase or Clinical-Phase Activity Form as soon as possible.
    • Excessive absences, as outlined in the MPAS Program Student Clinical Handbook, may results in consequence up to and including deceleration or dismissal from the program.
  • Policies and Procedures Regarding Transportation to and from Campus/Clinical Sites
    POLICY PROHIBITING DRIVING WITH FACULTY/STAFF

    For safety reasons, and in circumstances other than an emergency or EMS experiential activity, students are not permitted to drive with program faculty, including the Program Director, Medical Director, Principal Faculty, and Instructional Faculty (including but not limited to clinical preceptors) or staff of the Department or Program.

    TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM CAMPUS AND CLINICAL SITES

    Students are responsible for their own transportation, and any related expenses, to and from College campuses, clinical sites, conferences and other educational activities. If students are unable to secure their own transportation to program-required activities, they must immediately inform the Program Director or, if in the clinical phase of training, the Director of Clinical Education. In rare circumstances, students may be provided an excused absence for a maximum of one day due to non-weather related transportation issues. Other circumstances (e.g., loss of vehicle, loss of driving license) extending beyond one day may result in an unexcused absence and subsequently require a leave of absence, program deceleration, or dismissal from the MPAS Program.

  • Policies Regarding Faculty/Staff Recommendations and References

    For all requested recommendations and references, regardless of written or verbal form, students must complete and sign the appropriate College/School/Department release from before any such recommendations or reference can be completed. A separate form must be completed for each written and/or verbal reference.

    References for Fellowships and Residencies

    The MPAS Program recognizes some students will want to advance their training by completing a post-graduate fellowship/residency. Most of these require a letter of reference be completed well prior to a student’s MPAS Program graduation date. In such cases, principal and full-time program faculty are happy to complete such references that, due to their uniqueness, differ from the policy regarding letters of recommendation/references for employment and credentialing.

    References for Post-Graduate Employment and Credentialing

    Employers and credentialing agencies have been requiring more and more specific and comprehensive information detailed on program and faculty references. In response to this, the E&H MPAS Program has a specific and comprehensive reference form used for students graduating or who have graduated from the program: The Program Director’s Letter of Reference Form. A copy of Letter of Reference form can be found in the MPAS Student Handbook. By policy, this is the only form that will be used for employment and/or credentialing references.

    The Program Director’s Letter of Reference Form includes specifics regarding matriculation and graduation dates and degree awarded, academic and clinical coursework and clinical procedures training, sections for noting preceptor comments and faculty advisor and program director recommendation statements, and listing of Program Mission, Goals and Learning Outcomes. Additionally, the form includes four Specific Questions that are now commonly requested by employers and credentialing services:

    1. Did the student have extensions, leaves of absence, or breaks in the educational program?
    2. Was this student required to repeat any coursework?
    3. Was this student placed on behavioral probation due to significant issues related to student conduct/professionalism?
    4. Was the student ever denied clinical placement or clinical privileges (on the basis of weakness in clinical skills or professionalism) on a Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (i.e., clinical rotation)?
    Appeals Policy and Process for the Program Director’s Letter of Reference Question Answers

    All students can request to receive a copy of their final letter of reference before it is sent out to any outside individual/entity. Students have the final say in whether the program submits the letter of reference, which cannot be sent out unless students complete and submit the release from, but a different letter of reference form - other than as noted below - will not be completed for post-graduation employment/credentialing references.

    If a student takes issue with an answer to any of the Specific Questions noted on the form, or explanations for ‘yes’ answers on the form, the student may request reconsideration for the answer to that specific question/explanation by submitting an appeal to the Program Director. Appeals must be submitted for the first Letter of Reference Form completed by the MPAS Program. Appeals will not be accepted for any subsequently completed forms. Appeals will not be accepted after the students submits the release form for the first Program Director’s Letter of Reference. The Program Director will then submit the appeal request to the Student Progression Committee (SPC) chairperson who will call for an SPC meeting to discuss the appeal. The SPC decision, reached by consensus among SPC committee members, is final and not open to any further appeals from the student. 

  • Policies Regarding Student Conduct & Professionalism

    Introduction

    Student Conduct includes all E&H student conduct and honor code policies/standards and program specific professionalism policies/standards as outlined below and in other areas of this handbook.

    In accepting admission to the MPAS Program, each student agrees to review and to abide by all policies and procedures of Emory & Henry College, the School of Health Sciences, and the Department of Physician Assistant Studies/MPAS Program. Additionally, each student also agrees to abide by all policies and procedures outlined by individual clinical sites/organizations with which they may be assigned for clinical experiences.

    In addition to controlling their own behavior, students are expected to do their utmost to help maintain a high level of conduct among fellow students.

    College and Program policies are set forth in writing to give students general notice of prohibited conduct; they are not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive terms, so they should be read broadly. All enrolled students are required to review and, when applicable to the PA student, continuously abide by the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession. Additionally, all students are required to abide by all Emory & Henry College Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations as noted in the E&H Academic Catalog and College Student Handbook. The following information and policies are covered in the Catalog:

    • College Governance
    • Conduct Expectations
    • Application of Conduct Expectations
    • Personal Property – Search and Seizure
    • Hazing Policy
    • Discrimination and Social Harassment Policy
    • Sexual Misconduct Policy
    • College Disciplinary Procedures
    • Code of Conduct Offenses
    • Sanctions
    • Appeals
    • Student Conduct Code

    Emory & Henry College Honor Code

    Students are required to adhere to the College’s Honor Code. Specifically, the Honor Code states that:

    As members of the Emory & Henry College Community, we recognize Honor to include, among other things, the following:

    A commitment to tell the truth

    A commitment to maintain the sanctity of other’s property, including computer data/access

    A commitment to abstain from all forms of cheating and plagiarism

    A commitment to uphold the integrity and confidentiality of College documents, including computer records

    A commitment to deal responsibly with observed infractions of this code

    A commitment to honesty and integrity in all academic settings

    Professionalism and the PA Student

    Here in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program, one of our goals in educating Physician Assistant (PA) students is to graduate healthcare providers who are not only clinically sound, providing the highest quality of care within their scope of practice, but also well-respected professionals within the medical community. Each student must demonstrate the ability to work effectively within a professional environment among various types of healthcare settings. 

    The PA student must demonstrate sound judgment, intellectual honesty, and privacy and confidentiality standards in accordance to HIPAA protocols. Breaching professionalism, particularly when exhibiting any behavior that might pose a threat to the student or to others, may lead to dismissal from the program.

    PA students must be aware that even as students they are viewed - by both patients and medical providers - as part of the medical community. As such, PA students are expected to display the highest standards of professionalism. It is critical, therefore, that the development of professional behavior be assessed just as academic and clinical skills are measured.

    Professionalism Exhibited Through Attendance

    See the MPAS Program Policies on Attendance

    Professionalism Exhibited Through Professional Attire & Appearance

    The MPAS Program is a graduate professional program and, as such, students are expected to dress appropriately in both the college setting and at clinical sites.

    • During didactic phase activities, PA students must be identifiable by:
      • Wearing the E&H School of Health Sciences badge and lanyard at all times when on campus.
    • During any clinical encounters, occurring both in the didactic and clinical phases of training, PA students must have visible identification that indicates they are an E&H PA Student. Such identification includes:
      • Wearing the program issued short white lab coat with student name.
        • Students are required to wear their Program issues lab coat in the Mel Leaman Free Clinic.
        • Wearing the program issued name tag that clearly identifies themselves as an E&H PA student.
        • Wearing their facility issued identification badge.
          • If the facility issued identification badge does not indicate the student is an E&H PA Student, then the student must wear both the facility issued badge and the MPAS Program issued badge or lab coat.
        • The dress code for the MPAS program requires adherence to business casual attire and professional presentation for all non-lab class-related activities and clinical-related activities.
          • Business casual is attire that is clean, with limited wrinkles, and appropriate to present a professional appearance (including for a chance meeting with your clinical preceptor, professional colleague, potential employer, or a patient).
            • Clothing such as slacks, khakis (chino-style pants) or a skirt, a blouse, button-down or polo shirt with a collar; sweaters are also appropriate. Suit-coats, blazers, and neckties are not required.
            • Emory & Henry logoed shirts and sweaters are appropriate as are discipline specific (e.g., AAPA, APTA, AOTA, NATA) logoed attired.
            • Closed-toe shoes are required for skills lab, research lab and clinic environments. Open toes shoes cannot be worn in the PA Skills Lab, Sim Lab, Research Labs, or Clinical Facilities.
            • Jeans are not considered business casual; however, programs will have special ‘jeans’ day and events when jeans are permitted.
            • Skirts, if worn, must be knee length.
            • In some clinical settings, scrubs are considered professional attire and appropriate in those settings. Each clinical facility differs in this regard and many require certain types or colors of scrubs to be worn. As with other policies, students must comply with Facility-specific policies in this regard.
          • Specific to MPAS Program Clinical Skills and Sim Lab activities, students are often required to wear clothing that permits non-invasive physical examinations.
            • Sports bras, shorts with spandex/compression shorts beneath, sweatshirts and sweatpants are appropriate. Course instructors will determine appropriate attire for lab activities.
          • Certain jewelry is inappropriate in lab and clinical settings (e.g., necklaces outside of shirt or blouse, nose rings, hanging earrings, bangles, non-medical bracelets, sharp-edged or large protruding rings). Additionally, gauge earrings may need to be removed or covered.
          • Attire for Clinical Practice Experiences (e.g., Internships, Clerkships, Practicums):
          • Business attire is the general rule. However, different clinical environments require different attire – the dress code may be determined by clinical sites and students will be required to follow clinic-specific dress codes (e.g., scrubs).
          • Nails, Nail Length and Nail Coloring:
            • Nails must be short so as not to cause discomfort to patients during exams and procedures.
            • You should not be able to visualize the nail edge when looking at the finger from the palmar surface.
            • Colored nail polish is inappropriate.
            • Acrylic and gel fingernails are prohibited in didactic and clinical settings.
          • Hair Length and Appearance:
            • The hair should not fall forward to touch a patient or contaminate a sterile field when examining or treating patients.
            • From a clinical perspective, long hair poses a safety risk. In certain settings, hair must be off the face and, if long, in a ponytail or similar configuration.
            • Facial hair, if present, should be neat, clean, and well-groomed.
            • Due to personal infectious disease risk, some facilities may not permit mustaches or beards.
          • Perfume and Cologne:
            • Given the potential patient and classmate sensitivities, perfume and cologne are to be avoided in all settings.
          • Tattoos:
            • Tattoos considered offensive, as determined by course instructor, patients and/or site supervisors, must be covered. Additionally, some clinical sites may require students to cover all tattoos on exposed surfaces. Student must follow the policies of clinical sites.
          • Covering the 4 ‘B’s
            • It is vital that, at all times - regardless of movement or positioning and regardless of the setting - chosen attire covers the 4 ‘B’s (i.e., belly, breasts, back, and buttocks).
          • Inappropriate Attire includes:
            • Clothing inappropriate for the activity/setting
            • Clothing or lack of clothing that is, as determined by faculty, staff, and clinical preceptors to be too-revealing, too-tight, too-transparent
            • Baseball hats
            • Flip-flops or similar footwear
            • Open-toed shoes when in a clinical, lab, or research environment
            • Other attire that is deemed inappropriate by principal faculty and/or instructional faculty (e.g., preceptors).
    Professionalism Exhibited Through Professional Conduct

    The Physician Assistant student should show respect to all other individuals (e.g., faculty, preceptors, patients, peers) by:

    • Remaining attentive.
    • Arriving on time and not leaving early, thereby not disturbing class or clinic by entering after a presentation or patient encounter has begun or leaving before a presentation or patient encounter have been completed.
    • Observing all policies and procedures of the Emory & Henry College Academic Catalog, College Student Handbook, MPAS Program Student Handbook, MPAS Program Student Clinical Handbook.
    • Observing all policies and procedures specific to SCPE sites.
    • Not using personal electronic communication devices, including, but not limited to cell phones, tablets and laptops, for educational purposes only during class or clinical activities.
    • Demonstrating professional behavior at all times in classrooms, campus, or clinical settings.
    • Obtaining consent for utilizing audio and video equipment.
    • Seeking and following instructional input from faculty/preceptors.
    Professionalism Exhibited Through Maintaining Patient Confidentiality and Privacy

    The Physician Assistant student is expected and required to always adhere to health information privacy for all clinical encounters, including but not limited to, Clinical Skills and Interprofessional Clinical Simulation Lab activities, Mel Leaman Free Clinic (MLFC) activities, and all Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) activities, in accordance to HIPAA guidelines. Maintaining confidentiality towards classmates, standardized patients, simulated patients, and ‘real-world’ patients is equally important and required at all times.

    Social Media Guidelines/Guidelines of Use of Electronic Information

    Social media are internet-based applications which support and promote the exchange of user-developed content. Electronic social mediums can take the form of websites, blogs or online journals. The principle aim of these guidelines are to identify your responsibilities to the MPAS Program in relation to social media and to help you represent yourself, the College, and the Program in a responsible and professional manner.

    Everyone who participates in social media activities should understand and follow these simple but important best practices:

    • You are responsible for the material you post on personal blogs or other social media. Be courteous, respectful, and thoughtful about how other Personnel may perceive or be affected by postings. Incomplete, inaccurate, inappropriate, threatening, harassing or poorly worded postings may be harmful to others. They may damage relationships, undermine the Program’s reputation, discourage teamwork, and negatively impact the program’s commitment to patient care, education, research, and community service.
    • Anything you post is highly likely to be permanently connected to you and your reputation through Internet and email archives. Future employers can often have access to this information and may use it to evaluate you. Take great care and be thoughtful before placing your identifiable comments in the public domain.
    • Protect Patient Privacy. Disclosing information about patients without written permission, including photographs or potentially identifiable information is strictly prohibited. These rules also apply to deceased patients and to posts in the secure sections of your social media pages that are accessible by approved friends only.
    • If you post content, photos or other media, you are acknowledging that you own or have the right to use these items and could be violating copyright or trademark materials.
    • Code of conduct, technical standards, and professionalism policies apply to student use of social media. Violations of these codes, standards, and policies will result in consequences up to and including dismissal from the program.
  • Policy Regarding Faculty Grievances and Allegations of Harassment
    Faculty Grievances
    MPAS Program faculty with grievances - that cannot be rectified with parties involved - should be addressed to the Department Chair/Program Director or, if involving the Department Chair/Program Director, addressed to the SHS Dean or, if involving the SHS Dean addressed to the College’s Faculty Advisory Committee. This committee serves as the official committee to hear professional grievances and to advise tenured faculty in matters of termination of appointments, or faculty of alleged violations of the principles of academic freedom or tenure, or other professional concerns or grievances. It represents tenured or tenure-track faculty on any matter which requires such representation before the Board of Trustees. It also represents full-time non-tenure-track faculty and persons with faculty status in any teaching-related grievances. Whenever this committee is called upon to act as a Grievance Committee, only the tenured committee members will consider the grievance. Further details regarding faculty grievances are outlined in the E&H Faculty Handbook which is readily available to all faculty on the E&H Website accessible by faculty.
    Allegations of Harassment
    Emory & Henry College does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community, faculty, staff, students, visitors, vendors, contractors or third parties, against any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability or genetic information in matters of employment, admissions, housing, services or its education programs and activities. Emory & Henry College affirms the dignity and worth of every individual. Harassment, whether verbal, physical, electronic or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics, is a form of discrimination. This includes harassing conduct affecting tangible job benefits, interfering unreasonably with an individual’s academic or work performance, or creating what a reasonable person would perceive as an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence.
    Inquiries or complaints related to discrimination or harassment should be directed to the Director of Human Resources. The College’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy can be found in Appendix A of the Colleges Employee Manual (readily available on the E&H Website for all faculty and staff) and outlines full details related to the policy statements, complaint procedures, reporting, investigation, and resolution of a discrimination complaint.
  • Policy Regarding Program Faculty Actively Participating in Program Processes

    Program Faculty, including the Program Director, Medical Director, and Principal Faculty must all actively participate in all of the following processes: developing, reviewing and revising as necessary the mission statement for the program; selecting student applicants for admission to the MPAS program; providing student instruction; evaluating student performance; academic counseling of students; assuring the availability of remedial instruction; designing, implementing, coordinating, and evaluating curriculum; and evaluating the program.

  • Policy Regarding Program Faculty Participating as Healthcare Providers for Enrolled Students

    Principal faculty, the program director, and the medical director are not permitted to participate as healthcare providers for students in the program, except in an emergency situation.

  • Professionalism and the Professional Development Assessment Tool (PDAT)

    Students are expected to achieve and maintain the highest level of professionalism. Given the dramatic importance of professionalism in the PA profession, the MPAS Program includes a professionalism component to every final course grade.

    The Professional Development Assessment Tool (PDAT) is the assessment tool that is used by the MPAS Program to assess competency in the area of professionalism. The PDAT provides as objective a rubric as possible for assessing multiple components of professionalism; the combined score of each component in the rubric results in a final score called the Professional Demeanor Multiplier (PDM).

    • Satisfactorily meeting all areas of professionalism, the expectation for all students, results in a PDM of 1.0. Failing to meet all areas of professionals, results in a reduced PDM of 0.722. And, exceeding in all areas of professionalism results in an increased PRM of 1.292.
      • As professionalism is expected of every PA student, student behavior not meeting expectations of professionalism is weighted more heavily than behavior that exceeds expectations.
    • Some of the PDAT professionalism items may not pertain to all courses. If a particular course does not include one or more professionalism items as indicated in the PDAT, an automatic ‘satisfactory’ score will be awarded for those specific items.

    Course grades consist of two major final components: (a) the Pre-PDM Grade, the result of a student’s combined work during the course (e.g., scores on papers, quizzes, exams, projects); and (b) the Final Course Grade, the result of the Pre-PDM Grade multiplied by the PDM.

    • A student’s course grade will be negatively affected if that student does not meet expectations of professionalism in one or more areas.
    • A student’s course grade will be unaffected if a student meets expectations in all PDAT areas.
    • A student’s course grade will be positively affected if a student’s behavior exceeds expectations for professionalism in one or more areas.

    Unless in the case of egregious conduct/professionalism violations, prior to awarding the very first negative PDAT score, the course director or the student’s faculty advisor will meet with the student to discuss the applicable issue. At that time, depending on the behavior, the faculty member may offer the student a chance to develop a remediation plan. This provides the student with an opportunity to correct the unprofessional behavior before the PDM is calculated.

    Although individual course directors complete the PDAT for each course, a negative PDM is only applied after faculty discussion at a MPAS program faculty meeting in which consensus is achieved. This process was designed to help ensure the PDM is fair and objective.

     


    MPAS Program’s Professional Development Assessment Tool (PDAT)

    Professionalism Ideal

    Exemplary

    (0.068 points)

    Satisfactory

    (0.053 points)

    Unsatisfactory

    (0.038 points)

    1.      Adheres to institutional policies and procedures, including upholding the honor code as published in the College Catalogue*

     

     

     

    2.      Maintains AHA BLS/ACLS certification per Program protocols*

     

     

     

    3.      Maintains current immunizations and Tb testing per Program protocols*

     

     

     

    4.      Attends and arrives on time for all scheduled activities*

     

     

     

    5.      Maintains professional behavior throughout duration of all scheduled activities*

     

     

     

    6.      Submits all required documents and assignments on time and by posted deadlines*

     

     

     

    7.      Adheres to the Program dress code requirements

     

     

     

    8.      Admits to errors, assumes responsibility for mistakes, and conveys information honestly and tactfully

     

     

     

    9.      Demonstrates sensitivity to power inequality in professional relationships

     

     

     

    10.   Maintains composure during difficult interactions

     

     

     

    11.   Maintains thoroughness and attention to detail

     

     

     

    12.   Modifies behavior based on feedback

     

     

     

    13.   Requests help when needed

     

     

     

    14.   Responds promptly to communication requests

     

     

     

    15.   Acknowledges limits of one’s own knowledge

     

     

     

    16.   Responds receptively to diverse opinions and values

     

     

     

    17.   Demonstrates humility

     

     

     

    18.   Maintains the confidentiality of test materials*

     

     

     

    19.   Adheres to HIPAA protocols in maintaining confidentiality*

     

     

     

    Total points for each item (sum each column)

     

     

     

    Total Points (sum of all columns): _________________

    The following students are subject to the Behavioral Probation/Behavioral Dismissal policy as outlined in the student handbook:

    • Students receiving an ‘unsatisfactory’ score in categories marked with ‘*’
    • Students receiving a ‘unsatisfactory’ score in three or more categories
    • Students receiving a ‘unsatisfactory’ score in same ‘Professionalism Ideal’ for more than one semester
  • Safety and Security Information
    EMERGENCY PROCEDURES/SAFETY PLAN

    In the case of an emergency, students should call 9-1-1. THe SHS Marion campus is in close proximity to city and county police/sheriff, fire and EMS services. In addition to these services, the School of Health Sciences campus has continuous security coverage via E&H Campus Police and Safety Officers whenever the campus is open. Important phone numbers for Campus Police and Safety are posted in classrooms and study rooms. 

    CAMPUS EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM & E&H CARES PROGRAM

    Information regarding campus safety and security, including our Campus Emergency Alert System – LiveSafe, Emergency Guidelines, and Campus Safety Reports can be found on the College’s web site at the following location: http://www.ehc.edu/student-life/campus-safety/. Additionally, the E&H Cares program, comprised of campus and community-based advocates to broaden student, staff, and faculty inclusion and respect for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression can be found on the College’s web site at the following location: https://www.ehc.edu/inclusion-dialogue-center/eh-cares/.

    SAFETY & SECURITY ON THE MARION CAMPUS

    Specific to the Marion campus, housing the School of Health Sciences graduate clinical programs, security is covered not only by campus security services whenever the campus is open, but also by our local police and sheriff’s officers/deputies for the town of Marion and the Smyth County, respectively. Additionally, the School of Health Sciences facilities on the Marion campus are secured facilities, requiring an active student, faculty, or staff ID badge to be swiped at locked doors leading to student learning spaces and faculty and administrative offices.

    SAFETY & SECURITY WHEN ON CLINICAL ROTATIONS

    Specific to Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs), newly developed sites are evaluated for safety on a minimum of three occasions: (a) by program faculty prior to establishing clinical rotations, via the SCPES Site Visit Evaluation Report form Facility Safety Checklist;  (b) by students, via the mid- and end-of-rotation Student Evaluation of Clinical Rotation Site form SCPE Rotation Site Safety evaluation; (c) by program faculty when performing site visits with students via the SCPE Site Visit with Student Evaluation Report form  Facility Safety Checklist. For established sites, a minimum of one site visit per year is required to assure appropriateness and safety of the site. Students will not be placed or permitted to continue experiences at sites having any identified safety concerns until those issues have been rectified.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY TRAINING

    The safety of all students, staff, faculty, and patients is of primary concern. Therefore, during orientation, PA students are presented with information on personal security and fire safety, ALICE training, infection control and standard precautions reducing risk of exposure to blood/body fluids and chemical hazards, HIPAA, and OSHA. Furthermore, PA students are required to complete any clinical site-specific safety or security training requirements in preparation for supervised clinical practice experiences.

    Students must be aware that risk exists for exposure to infection and environmental disease during the didactic and clinical phases of the Program. PA students, staff, and faculty must adhere to all established Emory & Henry College safety protocols.

    • Didactic-phase students must notify their course director and/or MLFC preceptor as soon as possible of any exposure to bodily fluids, chemical hazards, or potentially serious infectious diseases.
    • Clinical-phase students must notify their SCPE preceptor and the Director of Clinical Education as soon as possible of any exposure to bodily fluids, chemical hazards, or potentially serious infectious diseases.
    • All faculty, staff and students will utilize Standard Precautions (Methods of Prevention as outlined in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks) during all activities that present a risk of exposure to blood/body fluids or chemical hazards. Failure to do so will be grounds for disciplinary action.
    • Students must follow the exposure response plan detailed in the MPAS Program Student Handbooks in the case of any exposure to blood/body fluids, chemical hazards, or potentially serious infectious diseases.