SNU Unveils Exciting Chapter with the Launch of Cutting-Edge Physician Assistant Program

SNU Unveils Exciting Chapter with the Launch of Cutting-Edge Physician Assistant Program

photo by jose ramos
Exam Tables in the PA Classroom

Embarking on a revolutionary adventure, Southern Nazarene University (SNU) is poised to revolutionize healthcare education with the launch of a groundbreaking Physician Assistant (PA) program, set to unfold its chapters in January 2025. This isn’t just another program; it’s a narrative of innovation, seamlessly weaving together faith integration, a dynamic curriculum, and a steadfast commitment to collaborative learning. The stage is set for SNU to carve its identity as a trailblazer in the realm of PA education.

Guiding us through the wonderland of this pioneering initiative is Jennifer Boyett, PA, a luminary in the program’s development. We are eagerly anticipating the enrollment of students in January 2025,” she shares, casting a vision for a 24-month journey, a journey where the initial 12 months delve deep into the didactic phase, laying the groundwork with foundational knowledge and theoretical mindfulness, only to delve into a dynamic 12-month clinical phase. Here, students will not merely absorb information but will immerse themselves in hands-on experiences alongside preceptors and within-community healthcare settings.

Cameron Hogan, an ER PA with a decade and a half of experience, narrates his shift from the emergency room to this program. “I had been in the ER for fifteen years, and it was time for a transition,” Hogan reflects. His connection with Mark Moran, a PA and the program director, was the prologue to an exciting chapter. The prospect of mentoring students became an invitation to embark on a new adventure, reminiscent of turning the pages of a fearless novel.

Jennifer Boyett, bringing her rich PA education background to SNU, emphasizes the program’s uniqueness. “Our mission stands apart from any PA program in the state,” she notes, hinting at a mission that echoes in the corridors of faith. Alisson Garrison, drawing on 22 years of PA experience, was herself drawn to the program’s unique mission and its potential to shape well-rounded healthcare professionals. It’s not just about education; it’s about crafting a narrative that transcends conventional boundaries.

Delving into the structural intricacies, Boyett elaborates on the 24-month curriculum structure, emphasizing a focus on primary care and a vision that extends beyond the classroom–a place where students might envision medical missions as the climax of their journey. The narrative takes a futuristic turn with the incorporation of virtual reality into courses, adding a touch of modernity to an already compelling storyline.

Garrison illuminates the program’s collaborative spirit, intertwining with other healthcare-related programs within SNU and beyond. The PA program emerges as the new kids on the block, ready to contribute to the broader healthcare community, akin to characters stepping onto a new stage. Boyett underscores the importance of inter-professional education, a collaborative harmony essential for the narrative of PA professionals.

Hogan outlines what prospective students might expect from the program including shadowing experiences, as well as, an array of support services. SNU is creating a support system where students can script their career development story–negotiating contracts, navigating job searches, and crafting compelling CVs. 

The smaller campus, according to Hogan, serves as the canvas for a more personalized and intimate learning environment. It’s an atmosphere where one-on-one interactions become the verses of this educational adventure. Garrison, emphasizing the genuine and passionate environment, speaks to the program’s commitment to developing servant-leader PAs, crafting characters rather than mere professionals.

In an exclusive interview, Emma Dilbeck, a pre-PA student at SNU, adds her unique verse to the narrative. “It’s a neat addition since we have such a blooming biology-chemistry degree,” she shares, infusing her anticipation with a sense of camaraderie. Dilbeck envisions the program not just as a rigorous academic pursuit but as a nurturing ground for compassionate individuals. She highlights the importance of community connections, an expanding cadaver lab, and skilled professors–resources essential for the success of this new program at SNU. 

As Southern Nazarene University’s new Physician Assistant program takes center stage, it unveils itself as a beacon of innovation, combining a robust curriculum, faith integration, and a commitment to collaboration. With the inaugural cohort ready to step onto this transformative stage in January 2025, this new addition signifies a significant leap forward for SNU in shaping skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals. The distinctive features of the program, coupled with the genuine passion of its faculty and the support of the SNU community, position it as a noteworthy protagonist in the evolving landscape of PA education. As the university sets sail on this transformative journey, the anticipation is not just evident; it’s the prelude to a positive impact that will resonate through the chapters of future healthcare providers’ stories.

Photos by José Ramos