Program and Student Successes

Photo of PA Program FacultyThe Gardner-Webb PA Program is deeply committed to developing within each student a strong foundation in the basic medical, clinical and psychosocial sciences. This provides our graduates with the education to treat patients and enables them to meet the life-long challenges inherent in the practice of medicine. We anticipate the following outcomes and benchmarks for our graduates:

  • For every Gardner-Webb PA program graduate seeking employment as a PA of those reporting in our Graduate Survey, 100% have been offered and accepted a position practicing as a PA within four months of passing the PANCE.
  • The Gardner-Webb PA program PANCE first-time pass rate for the Class of 2016 was 91% and overall pass rate was 100%.

We believe the program has already been successful on many levels. This is demonstrated by:

  • A Gardner-Webb PA Studies student from the Class of 2016 has been awarded 2015 North Carolina Association of Physician Assistants Scholarship.
  • A Gardner-Webb PA Studies student from the Class of 2017 has been nominated and accepted for North Carolina Medical Society Leadership College. Established in 2003, the NCMS Leadership College Program builds and enhances physician and PA leadership skills and equips graduates to become more influential in motivating and inspiring their peers to be leaders in their medical settings and their communities.
  • A Gardner-Webb PA Studies student from the Class of 2017 has been nominated for PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship. This is a program designed to enhance students’ understanding of political processes and health policy. Its aim is to inspire grassroots advocacy that promotes the PA profession as an integral part of the health care system. This program consists of a three-day intensive workshop in the Washington, D.C. area, with completed projects under the mentorship of PA faculty where fellows will develop skills in the following three areas: advocacy, leadership and PA’s and the healthcare environment.
  • A Gardner-Webb PA Studies student from the Class of 2016 was selected as an alternate for Physician Assistant Education Association’s Future Educator Fellowship, designed to enhance PA students’ understanding of medical education and academic careers in PA education and to foster professional development and leadership in future PA educators.
  • Gardner-Webb PA Studies established a Pi Alpha chapter at the University in August of 2015. Pi Alpha is the national Physician Assistant honor society organized for the promotion and recognition of both PA students and graduates. Membership signifies the inductees' significant academic achievement and honors them for their leadership, research, community/professional service and other related activities. The society also encourages a high standard of character and conduct among students and graduates. 

This is also demonstrated by:

  • The caliber of candidates that we attract. Our Class of 2019 entering in January 2017 has an overall average GPA of 3.61 and a math/science GPA of 3.5 as well as pre-requisite GPAs of 3.67.

The Gardner-Webb PA program has attracted extremely competent and nationally recognized faculty. This is demonstrated by:

  • Of the principal faculty and adjunct faculty, four are educated at the Doctoral level and the remainder are all educated at the Master’s level.
  • Principal faculty are experienced and average more than 15 years of clinical experience.
  • Principal and adjunct faculty have extensive experience practicing in multiple disciplines including: family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, behavioral health, orthopaedics, pediatrics, critical care, urgent care and occupational medicine.
  • Principal faculty hold additional achievements above and beyond their medical licenses as demonstrated by Certification of Additional Qualification, Certified Physician Executive Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of PAs recognition.
  • Principal faculty have demonstrated excellence and have been recognized with multiple awards during their education, practice and teaching including local, state, regional and national awards.

The Gardner-Webb PA program is deeply committed to developing within each student a strong foundation to practice clinically, as well as fostering leadership, educational, research and policy-making skills. We prepare our students to develop an integrated, patient and family-centered view including the treatment, education, prevention and healthcare management demonstrated by our curricular sequencing and course content including:

  • Our curriculum begins by introducing students to the elements of the clinician-patient interaction, the awareness and sensitivity necessary for working with culturally diverse patient populations, and the role of the family within the context of the patient’s illness.
  • During the clinical medicine and application courses the student is familiarized with treatment and patient education through clinical cases.
  • Summative courses solidify these concepts in preparation for clinical rotations and students review practice frameworks for health promotion.
  • The program has built a $300,000 virtual cadaver lab to enhance our existing anatomy course, as well as for use in multiple medicine and surgical courses.
  • The program utilizes standardized patient and robotic labs in an escalating manner throughout the didactic and clinical phases of the program.

The Gardner-Webb PA program recognizes the need for students to have acquired an entry-level competence upon completing the didactic phase of the program and entering the clinical phase. GWU PA program preceptors are surveyed in an effort to gauge our level of preparation and our first cohort of students demonstrated this with the following preceptor evaluations:

  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations” in their professionalism, in their reliability and dependability and in their self-confidence.
  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations” in their understanding of the role of a PA, in their ability to problem-solve/think critically, in their ability to perform a physical examination, in their ability to conduct a medical interview, in their ability to relate to patients and in their emotional resilience, flexibility, adaptability and tolerance.
  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations” in their ability to provide patient education.
  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations” in their ability to complete a written medical record, in their knowledge of facts and concepts and in their ability to make assessments and develop a differential diagnosis.
  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations” in their ability to relate to colleagues and in their ability to present cases orally.
  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations” in their knowledge of facts and concepts, in their ability to implement a management plan and in their knowledge of diagnostic studies.
  • On average 90% or more of preceptors rated students as our students either “Fully Acceptable Performance” or “Exceeded Expectations in their ability to perform clinical procedures.

The Gardner-Webb PA program recognizes the importance of our graduates successfully completing the PANCE on their first attempt. To reinforce the concepts taught within each phase of the program, we have provided the following additional reinforcement and capabilities for all students:

  • End-of-rotations examinations utilize PAEA’s validated test bank.
  • Students have the opportunity to take the PACKRAT twice during their education and are counseled as to enhancements they should focus upon.
  • Students all have complete access to the Kaplan test bank with faculty assessment and feedback provided on an ongoing basis.

We have intensified the program’s commitment to service in the community and this augments our students’ abilities to provide culturally competent care to diverse patient populations. This is demonstrated by our student participation with local healthcare and community groups and our diverse clinical rotations throughout underserved communities in the North Carolina environs:

  • The cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of North Carolina and surrounding states give Gardner-Webb PA students first-hand exposure to healthcare disparities, a wide range of cultures, languages, religions, sexual preferences, and the extent to which healthcare depends upon and is delivered in a broader socioeconomic and cultural context.
  • Our students have already developed a culture of involvement and participation in fundraising and volunteer efforts in local health screening opportunities. We equip our students and graduates to meet the changing needs of the healthcare system and to work as collaborative members of the healthcare team. This is demonstrated by our utilizing interprofessional education (IPE) into our curriculum.
  • The College of Health Sciences (CoHS) interprofessional practice standardized patient simulation project utilized nursing, athletic training and health and wellness students by focusing on effective interprofessional communication, collaboration, and teamwork to improve healthcare quality, safety, and delivery.

We have attracted and/or developed faculty who are outstanding educators as well as international, national, and state thought leaders in health policy and PA policy, research, training, education as well as healthcare delivery systems. This can be directly correlated to the faculty members who have represented the University, School, PA program and the profession through:

  • Numerous peer-reviewed and invited publications in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Journal of Physician Assistant Education Association, Advance for PAs and NPs, American Family Physician and the Journal of Emergency Medicine, and Clinician Reviews;
  • Numerous presentations at conferences sponsored by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Physician Assistant Education Association, the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants, Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiovascular Surgery, and multiple PA state society meetings, as well as over 40 other state organizations; and,
  • Numerous poster presentations at conferences sponsored by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants and state PA societies.

This also can be directly correlated to the success of our faculty and their involvement at the highest possible levels as volunteer thought leaders in national, specialty, and state organizations and associations as outlined by the positions they hold/held below:

  • American Academy of Physician Assistants Board of Directors.
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants House of Delegates.
  • AAPA Physician Assistant Foundation Board of Trustees.
  • North Carolina Medical Society PAC Board of Directors
  • North Carolina Medical Society Leadership College Faculty
  • North Carolina Medical Society Nominating and Leadership Committee
  • North Carolina Medical Society PAC Board of Directors
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants multiple committee chairs and members.
  • PA state society Board of Directors.
  • PA state society committee chairs.
  • Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
  • Peer reviewer for Academic Medicine.
  • Peer reviewer for the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.