School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Studies - Program

Clinical Curriculum


After students have successfully completed the didactic phase of the program, they begin three semesters of intensive clinical training. Over the course of the clinical year, students are exposed to a variety of clinical settings and patient populations through hands-on clinical rotations. Students are required to complete seven core rotations in addition to two elective rotations and can expect to complete at least one rotation in a rural location. Core rotations include:

    • Family Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Psychiatry
    • Women’s Health
    • Pediatrics
    • General Surgery
    • Emergency Medicine

Students will also complete two elective rotations, in addition to the required core rotations listed above. Students are required to pass web-based end-of-rotation examinations at the conclusion of designated rotations. Additionally, students are required to return to campus periodically during the clinical year for further testing and evaluation of clinical skills to ensure they have met all required learning outcomes. This also includes successful completion of a summative evaluation which consists of both a standardized web-based examination and testing of clinical, problem-solving, technical, interpersonal and professionalism skills.

All clinical placements and rotations that are arranged by clinical faculty will be assigned in a neutral and non-discriminatory fashion, without regard to a student’s gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religious preference, or ethnicity. While individual preferences are considered, a clinical schedule will be assigned to each student. Students are required to log all patient care experiences and complete evaluations of each clinical site and preceptor.

Our clinical training sites are located in a large geographic area, many of which are rural. Students must be able to travel both locally and to rural areas in order to accomplish their clinical practice rotations, and a reliable method of transportation is required. All arrangements for and expenses associated with travel and living accommodations during the clinical year are the responsibility of the student.

Students are NOT required to solicit or provide clinical sites or preceptors (Standard A3.03, 4th Edition; Standard A3.03, 5th Edition)

While at clinical sites, students must always work under the supervision of a preceptor. During clinical experiences, PA students must not be used to substitute for clinical or administrative staff or assume primary responsibility for a patient’s care. Students shall not treat and discharge a patient from care without a clinical preceptor also seeing the patient. Students shall perform only those procedures authorized by the program, clinical site and preceptor. Students must adhere to all regulations of the program and the clinical sites at all times. Students should be prepared for clinical site regulations to change from site to site. (Standard A3.06, 4th Edition; Standard A3.05b, 5th Edition)

Students are required to wear the nametag provided by UPAP at all times while in clinical settings. Students will introduce themselves as “physician assistant students” and sign all documentation with their legible full signature followed by ‘PA-S’ or ‘PA student’. At no time should a student misrepresent him/herself as being any type of medical provider other than a physician assistant student. Students should not reference other credentials while acting as a PA student. Failure to identify oneself appropriately or to misrepresent oneself is an egregious infraction of Utah state laws that would very likely result in the Academic Standards and Conduct Committee recommending dismissal from the Program. (Standard B3.01, 4th Edition; Standard A3.06, 5th Edition)