Mission and Goals

JWU Center for Physician Assistant Studies Mission-patient-centered and humanistic health care

Our Mission

The mission of the Physician Assistant Studies program at JWU is to educate students to become collaborative practitioners with the respect, empathy and trust inherent to patient-centered, humanistic health care.

Maintaining a relationship of trust and caring is central to becoming a health care professional, whether your goal is to stay in Rhode Island, or go where a growing career opportunity takes you.


Program Goals and Success in Achieving Goals

The Goals of JWU’s Physician Assistant Studies Program are as follows:

GOAL 1: To recruit and matriculate students who meet or exceed our admissions requirements, resulting in successful completion of Physician Assistant medical education.

The JWU Physician Assistant Program Admissions Committee has developed a robust process to recruit and matriculate qualified students who are successful in our rigorous 24 month program. Our Program has a 96% overall student graduation ratea and a 98% PANCE five year first-time taker pass rate, while attaining a 100% pass rate with their subsequent exam.  The quality of the students we have matriculated is demonstrated in Table 1; all exceed our admissions requirements for Overall and BCP (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) GPAs, and hours of direct patient care.

TABLE 1: CASPA reported cumulative GPA and BCP of matriculating students:

JWU PA CASPA Cumulative GPA Data

a As reported in Figure 21 of the Physician Assistant Education Association, By the Numbers: Program Report 34: Data from the 2018 Program Survey, Washington, DC: PAEA; 2019. doi: 10.17538/PR34.2019, all US PA Programs graduation rate for 2017-2018 is 85% (Total First year students is 10,814, and Graduating students is 9,202).

bHours of direct patient care is tracked and reported by the PA Admissions Counselor based on data from verified CASPA applications and updates from matriculated students. All Health Care Experience and Patient Care Experience reported on CASPA is reviewed individually to determine what meets program requirements for “direct patient care.”

Source: Matriculation data available through Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)

GOAL 2: Offer an integrated didactic curriculum that provides the knowledge, skills and humanistic principles required for the clinical year.

The JWU PA program didactic curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in the knowledge, skills, and humanistic principles necessary for a successful clinical year.

As demonstrated in Table 2, responses to student and clinical preceptor surveys, an end-of-didactic year PACKRAT (Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool), and student performance on Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), the Program delivers a curriculum that meets or exceeds our goal and prepares students well for their clinical rotations.

TABLE 2: Responses to student and clinical preceptor surveys, OSCEs and PACKRAT (end of year didactic examination)

Exit surveys of JWU PA graduates

aSource: Exit Survey (given to each student at the time of graduation) Scale: 1: Strongly Disagree, 2: Disagree, 3: Neutral, 4: Agree, 5: Strongly Agree

bClinical Facility Evaluation Form (completed by faculty while meeting with preceptor during clinical site visit)

cPhysician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) is a standardized multiple-choice exam covering the core clinical areas taught during the didactic year. It is provided by the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) and is given to each PA student at the end of the didactic year and provides national results.

dObjective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) given to each PA student at the end of the didactic year. All OSCEs include assessment of student’s clinical skills and techniques as well as demonstration of humanistic qualities such as rapport and cultural sensitivity.  Scale: Meet (≥70%) or Exceed (≥90%)

GOAL 3: Provide Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPE) in a variety of clinical environments/settings, ranging from community to tertiary care facilities, increasing student exposure to diverse populations and care levels while supporting our Mission of graduating humanistic and culturally competent PAs.

Figure 1: Facility settings for clinical rotations

2019 PA Program Demographic Data

Representing all clinical site data for the class of 2020

During the Clinical Year (months 13-24, or second year) of the JWU PA program, students have clinical rotation experiences in the areas of behavioral health, women’s health, surgery, family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, and emergency medicine. In addition, students have 2 elective rotations to further explore and develop their professional interests. These experiences are in a variety of settings including large, multi-hospital systems, independent community hospitals, community health centers, large and small group practices, and independent providers. Patients in these settings represent the demographics of RI and Southern New England who receive all levels of medical care.

Additionally, responses by students and clinical year preceptors to specific questions in survey and clinical year evaluation instruments demonstrate that our students have ample experiences with diverse populations and manifest a humanistic approach to patient care.

TABLE 3: Responses to Exit Survey and End of Rotation questions targeting diverse and humanistic care:

Exit Survey and End of Rotation questions targeting diverse and humanistic care

aSource: Exit Survey (given to each student at the time of graduation) Scale: 1: Strongly Disagree, 2: Disagree, 3: Neutral, 4: Agree, 5: Strongly Agree

bEnd of Rotation Evaluation (completed by the preceptor at the end of each clinical rotation); Score represents all students and all nine rotations. Scale: 1: No, 2: Inconsistent, 3 YES

GOAL 4: To graduate physician assistants who are prepared to enter clinical practice, employ lifelong learning, utilize and apply evidence based medicine (EBM) in decision-making and demonstrate clinical skills and humanistic qualities such as rapport and cultural sensitivity.

We are proud that our students “live” our mission and are prepared to enter clinical practice, apply evidence based medicine in decision-making and engage in lifelong learning. Table 4 includes data from the students’ successful completion of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) within four months of graduation, completion of an evidence-based Master’s Project, and self-evaluation during their Exit Survey. All responses and data demonstrate that we have achieved our goal.

Table 4: Data representing responses from students who were asked to rate their perception of how the program prepared them for entry into practice at the time of graduation and employment of lifelong learning skills; Faculty evaluate students’ application of evidence-based medicine principles (Master’s Project), as well as clinical competency, and humanistic approach to patient care (OSCE).

Exit survey about how well JWU's PA program prepared graduates for entry into practice

aSource: Exit Survey (given to each student at the time of graduation) allows rating how prepared they feel in several areas of practice. Scale: 1: Poorly Prepared, 2: Marginally Prepared, 3: Adequately Prepared, 4: Well Prepared, 5: Very Well Prepared;

bMasters Project, completed near the end of the clinical year, evaluates the utilization of evidence and presentation skills and is graded by faculty. Scale: Meet (≥70) or Exceed (≥90) out of possible 100 points. 

cObjective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) given to each PA student at the end of the clinical year. All OSCEs include assessment of student’s clinical skills and techniques as well as demonstration of humanistic qualities such as rapport and cultural sensitivity.  Scale: Meet (≥70%) or Exceed (≥90%)