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The Pulse

  • 2021 NC PA Program Update | Gardner-Webb University
    by Kaitlin Wilson, PA-S, Gardner-Webb University

    The Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program is a 28-month master’s program with 16 months in the didactic phase (classroom, small groups, and lab) followed by 12 months in the clinical phase (supervised clinical practice experiences or SCPEs). The didactic curriculum uses a traditional classroom setting augmented with problem and team-based learning modules and hands-on skills training. This is followed by clinical rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine, general surgery, mental health, two electives, and one rotation in an underserved community. The values of this program reflect a commitment to respect, ethical behavior, and integrity in personal and professional service that are established upon the foundation of Christian values and faith, in agreement with the Gardner-Webb University mission.

    Class of 2023

    The Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program welcomed its ninth cohort, the class of 2023, in January. With COVID-19 protocols and safety measures in place, this cohort has been able to begin their first semester on campus. We welcome them to our program and look forward to seeing them grow as future health care providers.

    Students from the class of 2022 practicing donning and doffing PPE

    The class of 2022 recently returned to campus to begin their fourth and final didactic semester before beginning clinical rotations in May. The class of 2022 has had a unique experience with beginning their graduate studies right before a global pandemic. They faced and rose above numerous challenges with positive attitudes and an eagerness to learn, all while dealing with the many changes necessary to ensure that learning continued throughout the past year.

    Student from the class of 2022 practicing Endotracheal Intubation during Emergency Medicine Lab

    The class of 2021 received their white coats via a drive-thru event in June 2020 before they began their clinical rotations. Due to COVID-19, the program had to postpone the annual PA Studies White Coat Ceremony normally held in April. While it was quite different from previous white coat ceremonies, it still proved to be a joyous event for students, faculty, and parents. We wish the class of 2021 continued success as they complete their clinical rotations.

    Students from the class of 2021 receiving their white coats from Dr. Nancy Winker (Director of Didactic Education)

    The Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program emphasizes volunteering in the community and giving back to those in need. Students had the opportunity to help with blood pressure screenings at a local church in Shelby, NC, lead by Professor Deibler, PA-C, prior to the pandemic. This provided an opportunity for students to get to know people in the community and raise awareness about the importance of heart health. Students have also been involved with collecting supplies for children in Cleveland County through the Little Bulldog Backpack Program, organized by Lou Ann Scates, GWU Registrar. During the 2020 PA Week, the class of 2022 organized a virtual 5k (Strides for Lives) in honor of Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC. The cohort was able to raise $1600 for the children’s hospital and collected toys that were delivered to the hospital by several students. Without the support of our community, family, and friends, this fundraiser would not have been possible.

    Students from the class of 2021 and 2022 at the local blood pressure screening event
    Students participating in our Anti-Racism Day during PA Week
    Students sharing their “why” during PA Week

    The Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program would not be successful without our faculty. As a program, we would like to say “Thank you” to our faculty who are dedicated to providing an excellent education to students and who are passionate about providing exceptional care to many communities in North Carolina.

    Top (from left to right): Professor Heather Deibler, PA-C. Associate Program Director Ashley Kernicky, PA-C.
    Bottom (from left to right): Program Director Dr. Ami Steele DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA. Professor Jamie Camp, PA-C
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