Clinical experience is an essential component of the Physician Assistant Program. Students begin this hands on aspect of the curriculum after completion of four semesters of didactic education. By means of clinical rotations in the major disciplines of medicine and surgery, students learn to integrate their fund of knowledge, and what they have learned about clinical medicine, with the actual care of the patient. The Department is clinically affiliated with numerous hospitals, clinics and private practices.
Most students are required to do a minimum of one or two assigned out of town rotations each year. Housing is the responsibility of the students. Out of town rotations are at least 60 miles outside of St. Louis but are regional in nature (ie, they are typically within a five hour drive of campus). The PA student organization may share previous housing arrangements that have worked for students.
In some cases, students may also be allowed to develop up to three of their own clerkships, following a careful screening process and programmatic approval of the desired clinical clerkship placement. SLU is a member of NC-SARA, the National Council for State Authorization and Reciprocity Act, which allows students to complete a portion of their education in a different state. A full list of states in which a student may complete a clinical clerkship is found here http://www.slu.edu/the-office-of-the-provost/state-authorization.
During the clinical year students undertake six 6-week and three 4-week supervised clinical clerkships in the following disciplines:
Internal Medicine: Students actively participate in all aspects of direct patient care in inpatient or outpatient adult medicine. This fundamental clinical experience places emphasis on patient evaluation and assessment, oral and written case presentations, understanding the complexities and interrelationships of disease processes and diagnostic and therapeutic collaboration.
Family Medicine: This clinical practicum provides the student with an opportunity to gain experience in a primary care setting with patients of all ages. This experience exposes the student to a wide range of common ambulatory care problems.
General Surgery: This clinical experience provides exposure to concepts and principles that characterize the practice of general surgery. Students participate in the pre-operative, operative and post-operative care of patients admitted to a variety of surgical services in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Pediatrics: This four-week clinical rotation provides practical clinical experience in the recognition and management of common pediatric problems is provided, including assessment of the newborn, well baby care, preventive pediatrics and parent counseling.
Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine: This four-week clinical rotation provides experience working with patients in a psychiatric or behavioral medicine setting. Emphasis is placed on the clinical presentation, diagnostic work-up, treatment and management of these patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Women's Health: This four-week clinical experience encompasses the fundamentals of women's health. Emphasis is on the medical history, physical examination, diagnosis and treatment involved with pre-natal, post-natal and general gynecologic care.
Emergency Medicine: This clinical experience includes the management of acute medical and surgical problems with an emphasis on the importance of precise diagnosis as well as the principles of emergency therapy.
Evidence Based Medicine Clerkship: Students choose their clinical specialty and critically review one area of the medical literature based on a clinical question of interest. They develop a project that includes concepts of evidence-based medicine in relation to their clinical question and their clinical experience.
Clinical Elective: Many specialty options are available for this elective experience. Specific clinical disciplines may be chosen based upon special interests of the student or upon what he or she determines would best augment existing clinical knowledge and skills.