Over the past couple of years, there has been a strong increase in the number of students declaring to be a Physician’s Assistant in their professional career. Noticing this, Bryan Lewis (Assistant to the Dean for Health Related Professions), came up with a great idea for a new program here at Parkside: the Masters in Physician’s Assistant degree.
The main job of a Physician’s Assistant is to act as a sort of liaison between the doctor or main physician and the patient. This leaves the physician with more time for more critical patients that need more attention. This degree is designed to train students at a professional level to perform all duties commiserate with the degree and experience level.
The program is half the time as medical school, with four years as an undergraduate and two years in the program itself. The two year program would be broken down like this: the first year spent in classes like Physiology, Anatomy, Pharmacotherapeutics, patient education, and medical ethics. The second year is spent doing clinical work at various health care professions, such as emergency rooms and operating rooms. Unlike a medical degree that physicians have, which takes 12 years to procure, the Physician’s Assistant program gets them out and looking for jobs sooner.
When you’re a Physician’s Assistant, you can work at a variety of places and not have to do residency. You’re ready to work as soon as possible!
Now, the program is only in its beginning stages, nowhere near to being completed. After (hopefully) being approved by the Faculty Senate, it needs to go through the UW system and be approved. As Mr. Lewis said, “You need dissenting opinions as well as positive.”
Then, if approved, there’s a five year window where the idea can start to become a reality by being planned. There is no public Physician’s program here in Southeast Wisconsin, so this would open new doors for people who’d like to get the degree but don’t want to leave the area.
“For our students, it’s a great opportunity,” said Lewis. “There’s a strong internal demand as well as a strong external demand.” However, the most important thing to him is having everyone here on board.
If this dream becomes a reality, there will be a higher cost in tuition for the graduate students and classes might be placed in Tallent Hall, where there’s room.
To reiterate, though, this is all a budding idea, still in the earliest stages of planning. It would be a great opportunity for the UW-Parkside community.