In the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant (PA) Program, during the second, third, and fourth semesters, PA students are provided multiple opportunities to attend the Student-Engaged Medical Clinic (SEMC). The clinic is located in downtown Harrisonburg at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic on West Water street. Each PA student has the opportunity to attend the SEMC 2-3 times per spring, summer, and fall semesters, for a total of approximately 10 experiences annually.
PA students see Free Clinic patients under the direct supervision of licensed physician assistant and nurse practitioner preceptors as part of the SEMC. Typical duties include obtaining patient histories, performing physicals exams, forming a differential diagnosis, performing common bedside procedures, and determining appropriate management plans. A unique inter-professional experience, students also have the opportunity to collaborate with physician specialists, pharmacy staff, nursing staff, and allied health professionals including dietitians, and mental health counselors.
By having the opportunity to care for a rural, underserved population, students may be more likely to choose a rural, primary care practice setting upon graduation from the PA Program.
This opportunity for students to gain valuable clinical experience while still in the didactic phase of the PA Program is extraordinary. Students gain not only clinical experience by treating complex patients who have multiple chronic conditions, but also learn much about professionalism, culturally competent care, and working with inter-professional teams. For more information about the Student-Engaged Medical Clinic, please contact the PA Program.
The partnership between the JMU PA Program and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic is made possible by a Primary Care Training Enhancement grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration - a division of the Health & Human Services Department of the federal government.