Skip to main content

Physician Assistant Program on Track for January 2025 Start Date

SNU's Physician Assistant Program's EntrywaySouthern Nazarene University (SNU) is on track to start their new Physician Assistant (PA) Program in January 2025. The program is one of only a few PA programs offered in Oklahoma, with Physician Assistant schools being limited. Located on 12,000 square feet of SNU's main campus near Oklahoma City, PA students will have access to classrooms, labs, clinical space, student space, and shared anatomy and simulation lab spaces.

PA graduates will receive their Master's of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. SNU, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)*. The PA Program anticipates Accreditation-Provisional approval at the September 2024 ARC-PA meeting. Applications open Thursday, April 25, 2024 for the proposed January 2025 start date.

SNU's program is unique, as it's focus goes beyond health sciences and clinical experience. Program Director Dr. Mark Moran describes it as 'medicine taught from a Christian worldview.' The program's mission statement affirms this, saying that the program "strives to train competent Physician Assistants to practice medicine with empathy and compassion, serving Oklahoma and all nations in a Christlike manner."

"One of the most valuable elements of the SNU PA program is the integration of Christian values and faith into the education and training of future Physician Assistants," explains Director of Didactic Education for Physician Assistant Studies, Jennifer Boyett. "By integrating faith and learning, we strive to create a culture where empathy, compassion, and Christlike service are not only encouraged but are embedded all throughout the program."

Mrs. Carlous Hudspeth believes that the most valuable element of the program is its focus on helping others. "We prioritize teaching students to be not just skilled medical professionals, but also compassionate caregivers dedicated to serving patients' needs," says Hudspeth, Program Coordinator and PA Admissions Specialist.

Jennifer Boyett agrees, adding, "Our goal as faculty is to not only help students shape their clinical skills and knowledge, but also their character and the way they approach their future roles as healthcare providers."

Physician assistant education prepares students with a wide range of skills. "My favorite skills to teach within the PA curriculum are physical exam techniques, medical documentation, and patient simulation/OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations)," says Boyette. "It is rewarding to watch students learn how to interact with patients and use their diagnostic equipment throughout the program."

Dr. Mark Moran demonstrates use of an ultrasound.

Dr. Moran explains how many of these skills can be both practical and far-reaching. "I enjoy teaching point of care ultrasound. It is a practical application of technology in real time and can save patients time and money. It is also fun to utilize and its applications are seemingly endless."

PA school entry is competitive and training is hard work. "SNU PA students will spend 24 months learning to practice as an entry level PA. It is imperative during these two short years that students make a commitment to invest as much time as possible in pursuing their education," explains Boyett.

Dr. Moran says PA school is one of the hardest master's programs that exists, but success boils down to one thing: willingness. "One must be willing to work hard, willing to make sacrifices while in school, willing to be taught, willing to be corrected, and willing to be committed to lifelong learning," explains Moran.

Hudspeth and Boyett agree that dedication and commitment to academic excellence are important keys to success in the program. They cite a combination of skills and strategies including diligent study habits, consistent practice, time management, and effective communication. "The most successful students are the ones that develop a passion for learning and can receive constructive feedback effectively for professional growth," adds Boyett.

When considering applying for the program, the best advice is preparation. One way to do this is by researching PA careers. "Research what it means to be a Physician Assistant," says Hudspeth. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the scope of practice.

Understanding and being able to articulate why you want to become a Physician Assistant is also important, advises Boyette. "PA school is hard and strenuous, but in those moments, it helps to remember why you chose this great profession to begin with!"

Dr. Moran says that confidence is also key. "My advice is to be as prepared as possible," he advises. "Appreciate textbooks, learn to stay organized and prioritize, and be confident that the PA profession is what you are willing to work hard for." Mrs. Hudspeth agrees, adding "ask questions, believe in yourself, and trust the process."

A PA program takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but Dr. Moran and Boyett agree that it is a worthwhile investment. " Remember that becoming a Physician Assistant is a rewarding journey that requires dedication, preparation, and a genuine commitment to patient care," encourages Boyett. "Each step you take in preparing for and pursuing a PA program contributes to your future success in the profession."

For more information about the Physician Assistant Program at SNU, please visit the program page or contact Dr. Mark Moran.

*SNU has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). SNU anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2025, pending achievement of Accreditation-Provisional status at the September 2024 ARC-PA meeting.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Request More Information

Have questions about SNU or need help determining which program is the right fit? Fill out the form and an enrollment counselor will follow-up to answer your questions!

Text With an Enrollment Counselor

Have questions, but want a faster response?  Fill out the form and one of our enrollment counselors will follow-up via text shortly!