With a robust healthcare ecosystem and growing medical education contingency, there is no better place to reach your potential as a physician assistant than in Nashville, the healthcare industry capital of the U.S. Let us help you prepare for your future career as a PA through excellence in education, meaningful engagement, and the empowerment of students. With small class sizes, veteran faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities, the School of Physician Assistant Studies offers a top-tier education aimed at impacting healthcare, one student at a time.
At Lipscomb University, Christian faith is foundational, infused in both the curriculum and the campus community. Our PA program will serve your spiritual and vocational goals, as you train to serve others.
On your way to becoming a PA, our dedicated faculty and staff will mentor and guide you through every step of the process, remaining invested in your success. Once you graduate, you will become peers and colleagues in one of the fastest-growing and most rewarding health professions in the United States.
Your journey starts now… at the Lipscomb University School of Physician Assistant Studies.
Competencies, which are summative in nature, encapsulate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for entry into clinical Physician Assistant practice. As such, the Lipscomb University School of Physician Assistant Studies has defined the core competencies expected of its graduates. Not only do the competencies culminate the program’s expectations of the student, but they also serve as a framework to underpin the curriculum and establish a robust foundation on which graduates can build a future career.
Medical Knowledge (MK)
Medical knowledge must be focused on core evidence-based knowledge for practice. Physician assistants must demonstrate the acquisition of established knowledge in scientific, biomedical, and clinical sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care in clinical practice. Moreover, the graduate PAs should incorporate epidemiological and social/behavioral approaches to various patients and populations, while demonstrating the propensity for life-long learning and critical appraisal of evolving medical knowledge. Upon graduation, the PA student will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of scientific principles and application to patient care.
Demonstrate biomedical knowledge regarding the recognition, treatment, and prevention of disease.
Demonstrate knowledge and application of clinical sciences to patient care.
Apply evidence-based and epidemiological approaches to patient care for patients and populations.
Apply principles of social-behavioral sciences by assessing the impact of psychosocial and cultural influences on health, disease, care-seeking, and compliance.
Interpersonal Skills (IS)
In healthcare, physician assistants must demonstrate the necessary interpersonal skills to allow for effective interaction with patients, families, collaborating physicians, and other health professionals. As such, these skills are considered an inherent component of healthcare delivery, allowing for effective communication and the exchange of information. Interpersonal skills, influenced by a Christian worldview, will foster altruism and service to fulfill the calling of a physician assistant. Upon graduation, the PA student will be able to:
- Create and maintain a therapeutic relationship with patients, family members, and caregivers while demonstrating sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities, and sexual orientation.
Create a collegial partnership with other members of the healthcare team in order to provide patient-centered care.
Adapt communication skills to the context of the interaction to allow for the effective exchange of information.
Clinical & Technical Skills (CTS)
Patient-centered care requires patient- and setting-specific clinical and technical skills to assess, evaluate, and manage patients presenting with a wide range of diseases. Similarly, these skills are also required for the promotion of health in patients and populations. Upon graduation, the PA student will be able to:
- Obtain essential and accurate histories and perform an appropriate physical exam for ages across the lifespan, regardless of presentation.
Order & interpret appropriate diagnostic studies.
Develop a differential diagnosis and select the most appropriate working diagnosis.
Perform medical, diagnostic, and surgical procedures considered essential for entry-level PA practice.
Develop and implement therapeutic plans and interventions.
Provide counseling that is culturally sensitive and relevant to the context of the encounter.
Accurately and adequately provide comprehensive documentation regarding care for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes in a timely manner.
Provide concise oral case presentations appropriate for the audience and context of the presentation.
Clinical Reasoning & Problem-Solving Skills (CRPS)
The practice of patient-centered healthcare requires the persistent use of sound clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills to analyze information and synthesize treatment plans. Additionally, said skills must be developed and maintained in order to triage and provide appropriate care. Upon graduation, the PA student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an investigative and analytical approach to clinical situations.
Recognize normal and abnormal health states in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.
Discern between acute, chronic, and emergent disease states.
Prioritize therapeutic actions and clinical care decisions based on available data.
Professional Behaviors (PB)
Physician Assistants must demonstrate strict adherence to professional responsibilities, remaining accountable to our colleagues and the public, in addition to the patients and populations we serve. Physician assistants must demonstrate a high level of trust, ethical practice, and commitment to the standards of the profession. Upon graduation: the PA student will be able to:
Appraise the role of the physician assistant in the delivery of healthcare and the contexts of the physician/PA relationship and the interprofessional team.
Differentiate the functions of the various members of the interprofessional health care team to promote a climate of mutual respect and trust.
Demonstrate self-awareness in recognition of personal/professional limitations.
Maintain loyalty to ethical principles of practice.
Adhere to standards of care, and to relevant laws, policies, and regulations that govern the delivery of care.
Engage in systems-based practice through coordination of care, while maintaining cost awareness, risk/benefit analysis, and advocacy efforts.
Use critical analysis of practice patterns to learn and improve patient care and outcomes, while identifying ways to improve efficiency and reduce medical error.
At its March 2021 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Lipscomb University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Lipscomb University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in March 2023.
Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.
Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.
Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).
To be the spark that ignites Christ-centered medical practice through excellence in education, meaningful engagement, and empowerment of students.
To be a top-tier program, impacting healthcare one student at a time.
1. To achieve on-time graduation rates on par with the national average.
- On-time graduation rate
- On-time graduation rate at or above the mean on-time graduation rate published in PAEA’s annual Program Report. Program Report 35 reports a mean on-time graduation rate of 92.9%.
- Class of 2020: 94.3% (33 of 35 students) graduated on time.
- Class of 2021: 93% (40 of 43 students) graduate on time.
2. To prepare students to practice evidence-based medicine and participate in scholarly activities.
Cohort pass rate in the following courses:
- PA 5042 - Biostatistics and Evidence-Based Medicine
- PA 6001 - Professional Practicum
- 100% pass rate in PA 5042 - Biostatistics & Evidence-Based Medicine
- 100% pass rate in PA 6001 - Professional Practicum
PA 5042 - Biostatistics & Evidence-Based Medicine
- Class of 2020 - 100% pass rate
- Class of 2021 - 100% pass rate
- Class of 2022 - 100% pass rate
PA 6001 - Professional Practicum
- Class of 2020 - 100% pass rate
- Class of 2021 - 100% pass rate
3. To prepare graduates to practice in a variety of health care settings, including medically underserved areas or populations.
- Percentage of students completing a supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) in a Health Professional Shortage Area as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the government of the United States of America.
- 75% of students will complete a supervised clinical practice experience in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
- Class of 2020 - 100% of students
- Class of 2021 - 100% of students
4. To achieve a first-time PANCE pass rates at or above the national average
- Fist-time PANCE Pass rate
- First-time PANCE pass rate as published annually.
- Class of 2020: 100% (95% national first-time pass rate)
- Class of 2021: 95% (93% national first-time pass rate)
The School of Physician Assistant Studies endeavors to define, publish, make readily available, and consistently apply policies and procedures applicable to the program. As such, the program has published the following index of selected policies in accordance with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) standards which are indexed below.
For Prospective Students
A3.03: Student Solicitation of Clinical Sites or Preceptors Policy
No student will be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. The program will coordinate clinical sites and preceptors for all program-required rotations. Coordinating supervised clinical practice experiences will include identifying, contacting, and evaluating sites and preceptors for educational suitability as a required or elective rotation experience.
A3.12a: ARC-PA Accreditation Status
Please refer to the Program Overview → Accreditation Information section of this website.
A3.12b: Evidence in Effectiveness in Meeting Goals
Please refer to the Program Overview → Mission, Vision, & Goals section of this website.
A3.12c: Current Annual PANCE Report Provided by NCCPA
Please refer to the Program Overview → NCCPA PANCE Pass Rate Summary Report section of this website.
A3.12d: Required Curricular Components
Please refer to the Courses section of this website.
A3.12e: Academic Credit Offered by Program
Please refer to the Program Overview section of this website.
A3.12f: Estimates of Cost (Tuition/Fees)
Please refer to the Tuition & Aid section of this website.
A3.12g: Program Required Competencies
Please refer to the Program Overview → Core Competencies for New Graduates section of this website.
A3.12h: Services Related to a Distant Campus
The School of Physician Assistant Studies does not have a distant campus associated with the program.
A3.12i: Student Attrition Information
Please refer to the Program Overview → Student Attrition section of this website.
A3.13a: Admission Practices Favoring Individuals or Groups
Please refer to the Admissions Requirements → Holistic Application Review section of this website.
A3.13b: Admissions Requirements (Education/Experience)
Please refer to the Admissions Requirements → Patient Care Experience & Shadowing and Prerequisite Info sections of this website.
A3.13c: Practices for Advanced Placement
Advanced placement is defined as a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for applicants to the program and/or a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for currently enrolled students in the program which results in the student advancing in the curriculum without completing required curriculum components at the sponsoring institution.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies does not offer advanced placement for applicants to the program or currently enrolled students in the program.
A3.13d: Admissions Requirements (Academic Standards)
Please refer to the Admissions Requirements → Prerequisite Info section of this website.
A3.13e: Technical Standards
Please refer to the Admissions Requirements → Technical Standards section of this website.
For Enrolled Students
Policies for enrolled students are published and indexed in the Lipscomb University School of Physician Assistant Studies Student Handbook.
Take a virtual tour. The Simulation Laboratory is providing students an excellent bridge between classroom learning and real-life clinical experience.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies is always interested in recruiting skilled and experienced providers to educate our students during the clinical portion of the program’s curriculum. Precepting PA students is an enriching experience for providers and students alike.
Do you remember the provider that inspired you?
Be a Light! Become a Lipscomb Preceptor and impact healthcare one student at a time.
COVID-19 Statement and Admissions
Due to COVID-19, several temporary changes have been made to the Lipscomb admissions policies and extended through the 2022-2023 CASPA cycle.
- We will accept online credit for classes with corresponding labs ONLY if the transition to an online platform was due to COVID-19 and assuming all other prerequisite criteria are met. Please answer the questions in CASPA to indicate any courses this may have affected.
- Classes and their corresponding labs taught online before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted in-class/lab teaching will not be accepted.
- The admissions committee may require official documentation from your institution.
Further updates and changes are possible as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve. Feel free to reach out with any further questions via email to email@example.com.
Professional healthcare providers are challenged in environments that demand certain abilities, behaviors, and skills. The Lipscomb University School of Physician Assistant Studies has identified certain professional behaviors, abilities, and skills that are essential for students to be able to succeed within the program and provide excellent care to patients. In order for a student to be eligible to enroll in the program, he or she must be able to perform these skills and behaviors successfully either unassisted, with dependable use of reasonable assistive devices, or by employing another reasonable accommodation. The following descriptions define the capabilities expected from an individual in order to successfully complete the Lipscomb University Physician Assistant Program.
The PA student must possess the skills related to critical thinking, communication, gross motor dexterity, fine motor coordination, interpersonal skills, observational abilities, and social skills in an individual, group, classroom, laboratory, or other educational settings. All students must be able to effectively perform and function in settings that are solitary, small group, large group, social environment, public space, or large classroom settings without disruption to other students, patients, faculty, or staff. All students must be able to function and remain calm within stressful situations. All students must be able to attend classes and laboratory sessions and be present for examination and testing. All students must be able to perform overnight call when required on supervised clinical rotations.
The PA student must be able to effectively hear, understand, speak, and observe patients in order to elicit history and other necessary information from patients, students, faculty, and staff. The student must be able to perceive nonverbal communication and cues, describe patient mood or changes, describe posture and appearance, and interpret and describe patient activity and behavior. The PA student must be able to communicate in verbal, written, typed, and electronic formats in a manner that is effective, efficient, and sensitive, and in the English language. The PA student must be able to receive and give communication effectively with others in a professional manner. The PA student must be able to interact, communicate, and understand other students, clinicians, faculty, patients, and their families in order to respond appropriately and in a timely fashion.
The PA student must possess and demonstrate the physical, emotional, intellectual, compassionate, and ethical capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum at a normal pace with on-time completion. The student must be able to learn, retain, and recall information and make reasoned decisions in a timely fashion. The student must be able to achieve a competent level of critical thinking and reasoning required to function in an entry-level PA position. In order to achieve this level, the student must be able to perform in areas of reasoning, measurement, analysis, interpretation, synthesis, calculation, and deduction. These skills must be evident in dealing with other students, faculty, staff, patients, patient families, and other health care professionals. Critical thinking and problem solving, while in stressful situations, are necessary to complete the program.
Interpersonal Abilities and Social Interactions
The PA student must be able to establish and maintain appropriate relationships in a professional manner with other students, faculty, staff, health care professionals, patients, and patient families. This encompasses possessing the maturity and emotional health necessary to function within the health care and educational environments while achieving full utilization of his or her abilities, intellectual function, sound judgment, sensory input, critical thinking, and promptness. The student must be able to demonstrate compassion, empathy, responsibility, and tolerance towards patients, families, faculty, staff, other students, and colleagues. This includes the ability to remain calm and function at this level within stressful situations and with competing demands for the student's time and energies.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills and Strength
The interaction with patients and the demands of the health care and educational environments while in training and practice require strength, coordination, and endurance. The PA student must have sufficient fine and gross motor coordination to function within the patient care and educational environments that may include clutter, equipment, tables, family members, stairs, textbooks, supplies, and distractions. This includes the ability to ambulate, stand for extended periods of time, concentrate, balance, interact, assist in movement, use medical instruments, use electronic devices, position patients, and lift heavy objects. In general, a PA student should be able to safely lift 50+ pounds without any assistance or injury. Interaction within the environment may include classrooms, treatment rooms, laboratory spaces, patient rooms, waiting rooms, operating rooms, public spaces, stairwells, outdoors, and any other space generally necessary to interact with and treat patients or interact in the educational environment. This interaction may require standing or sitting for extended periods of time without disruption or change in position. This interaction may require altering lighting, including bright or fluorescent lights or low light conditions. All students must be able to travel to clinical rotation sites.
The PA student must be able to observe a patient or simulated patient accurately from varying distances. This includes adequate vision. The PA student must possess the visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory sensations sufficient enough to receive the sensory input in the classroom, clinical, laboratory, or educational setting. These skills include the ability to inspect, palpate, percuss, and auscultate accurately during the physical examination.
Patient Care Experience
Lipscomb requires all applicants to have patient care experience. However, we do not require a specific number of hours to be considered for an interview. Patient care experience is defined as those experiences in which you are directly responsible for an aspect of a patient's care. Patient care hours may be paid or volunteer. It is extremely important to provide a detailed description of your experiences on your CASPA application to assure that you are given appropriate credit. Examples include but are not limited to nursing assistant, medical assistant, emergency medical technician/paramedic, emergency room technician, home health aide, and phlebotomist.
Healthcare experience is defined as experience in a health or health-related field where you are not directly responsible for a patient's care, but may still have patient interaction. Additional weight within the admissions rubric will be given for medical scribe experience.
Lipscomb requires all applicants to have PA shadowing experience. However, we do not require a specific number of hours to be considered for an interview. We prefer you seek quality interactions with a practicing PA rather than just accumulating higher quantity hours.
A CASPA calculated GPA of 3.0 is required for both the cumulative GPA and the overall science GPA at the time of application submission. The program does not replace grades or recalculate GPAs based on coursework completed after application submission.
Must have earned a ‘C’ or above in all prerequisite courses.
Must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, or the international equivalent verified by WES, or anticipate earning a bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the physician assistant program.
The prerequisite classes must be obtained from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.
Science and statistics prerequisites must have been completed within 10 years of matriculation.
The only online prerequisite courses considered for acceptance are the psychology and statistics courses, unless a course meets the COVID exception policy.
Science prerequisites must be those for science majors only. We will not accept prerequisites for nursing, kinesiology, etc, or those listed as “survey” or “introductory” courses
The program does not accept Advanced Placement (AP) or CLEP credits for any of our prerequisite coursework.
The following prerequisite list is representative of classes that are generally accepted. This list is not all-inclusive. Other courses may substitute based on prior approval on an individual basis.
Chemistry (8 credits)
- General Chemistry I and II with a Lab
- Organic Chemistry I and II with a Lab
- Chemistry for Health Sciences (including a lab)
Human Anatomy and Physiology (8 credits)
- Human Anatomy/Physiology I
- Human Anatomy/Physiology II
- Human Anatomy
- Human Physiology
Biology (8 credits)
- Principles of Biology I and II with a Lab
- Microbiology with lab
- Molecular Basis of Human Disease
- Molecular Biology with lab