NC PA Program Highlight | Wingate University
by Delaney Brummer, PA-S
The mission of the Wingate University Physician Assistant Program is “dedicated to developing educated, productive and ethical physician assistants to serve the healthcare needs of the community in which they practice.”
The inaugural class for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree at Wingate University matriculated in August 2008, and the first cohort of students to start at the Hendersonville location began in the fall semester of 2013. Wingate uses synchronous distance learning to connect its two campuses, allowing faculty and students to interact in real time regardless of location. Currently, Wingate has 40 students enrolled in didactic year at the Wingate campus and 15 students enrolled at the Hendersonville campus.
The primary goal during the didactic year is to develop a core knowledge of clinical and biomedical sciences that students will be able to apply to decision-making in clinical practice. Wingate achieves this goal through traditional classroom lectures combined with small group, problem-based learning activities. This practice will support their ability to serve as a member of a healthcare team and remain actively engaged in continuing their personal development and education according to evolving health care trends.
During their clinical year, students participate in eight required rotations along with two elective rotations. At the end of each rotation, students participate in end of rotation activities such as exams, workshops, guest presentations and presenting cases in Grand Rounds formation. At the end of the clinical year, each student is required to present their capstone Master’s thesis as a culmination of their knowledge from didactic year combined with their skills and experience from clinical year. This project is aimed at improving the effectiveness of health care and improving health processes and patient outcomes.
Wingate University was recently gifted a medical bus by Atrium Health as a means to better serve the surrounding communities. Students from the PA program are working alongside faculty to develop a plan in which students from the PA, Pharmacology, Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy programs travel to local schools and churches to host health screening sites. As January is mental health awareness month, Wingate PA students will be utilizing the medical bus to provide mental health screenings to community members.
Students give back to their local community through providing dental/health screenings at local health fairs, hosting blood drives in partnership with the Red Cross and running a 5k in Charlotte which raises awareness for human trafficking. PA students at Wingate are also involved with the Alexander Youth Network (a residential home for children with serious emotional and behavioral problems) as well as the Evening of Believing event for children and young adults with debilitating illnesses.
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