On the second Friday of May, Lenoir-Rhyne University Physician Assistant students marked another milestone – they graduated as part of LR's second cohort of the PA program. One by one, each student's name was read, hoods were bestowed, and degrees were earned as part of the commencement ceremony inside P.E. Monroe Auditorium.
Thirty-six of LR's total 273 graduate students earned their master of science degree in physician assistant studies after 15 months of classroom instruction and one year of clinical rotations. Friday's ceremony offered many moments of celebration, and marked a step toward board certification, and exciting careers in medicine. The graduates are scheduled to complete the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam by summer 2019. Last year's inaugural class of graduates had a 100% pass rate on the national certifying exam. Of this year's 36 graduates, 30 have secured medical positions, mostly in North Carolina, but also in Florida, New Mexico, and Washington. One student has been accepted into the Duke Surgical Residency program.
Members of LR's 2019 PA cohort include 11 men and 25 women from 13 states: Autumn Stone, Asheville, North Carolina; Cassidy Ford, Black Mountain, North Carolina; Nicholas Austin, Boone, North Carolina; Britni Henderly, Browns Summit, North Carolina; Brittany Fritz, Brian Hummel, Lee Kirk, and Colin Renaud, all of Charlotte, North Carolina; Hunter Hardaway and Gergana Olzsewski, both of Hickory, North Carolina; Shane Tolbert, Lawndale, North Carolina; Stephanie Cernuto, Morgan Edwards, and Eric Hahn, all of Mooresville, North Carolina; Julia Eick, Kaitlyn Long, and Laura Purks, all of Raleigh, North Carolina; Ashley Witkowski, Taylorsville, North Carolina; Amber-Leigh Clamser, Wilmington, North Carolina; Hammond Geis, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Tirrany Osborne, Mobile, Alabama; Courtney Northup, Rancho Cucamonga, California; Kaitlyn Shotwell, Jupiter, Florida; Louis Pettygrove, Tampa, Florida; Shea Church, Alpharetta, Georgia; Gjulshana Nurceski, Westmont, Illinois; Sana Ahmed, Bowie, Maryland; Nikkia King, Delmar, Maryland; Devyn Lockley, Clyde, New York; Emily Wood, Cleveland, Ohio; Jessica Steiner, Dayton, Ohio; Janelle McDaniels, Edwardsville, Pennsylvania; Justin Strickland, Charleston, South Carolina; Brandon Gregory, Greenville, South Carolina; Alexander Neils, Jefferson, Wisconsin; and Jasmine Gosnell, Vienna, Virginia.
LR's 110-credit hour MSPAS program includes a 15-month didactic phase (68 hours) and a 12-month clinical learning phase (42 hours). A new cohort of up to 48 students begins each January. In the clinical phase, students complete rotations at a variety of outpatient and inpatient clinical sites in areas such as family/primary care, internal medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology/women's health, and emergency medicine. There are seven mandatory clinical rotations and one elective clinical rotation. Students are expected to develop core competencies in these areas: medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care and professionalism.
Prospective students are encourage to learn more about the admission requirements at lr.edu/physician-assistant-studies.
Photo Credit: Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2019 cohort photo by Mikeala Skelton, Lenoir-Rhyne University