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MU Home » Academics » School of Health Sciences » Physician Assistant Program

Student Testimonials


Tiffany Mills
Tiffany Mills
Tiffany Mills
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Tiffany Mills
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Victoria Locklear
Tiffany Mills
Aaron Manshaem
Tiffany Mills
David Renan

Iaan Adams , PA-S

Class of 2015
Houston, TX
University of Houston

If you have spent at least five minutes researching Physician Assistants, then I am 100% positive you have stumbled across the word “flexibility” at least once. You have the freedom to specialize in practically any field of medicine you want, from family practice to oncology, and everything in between. PAs are the future of health care, and it is a beautiful thing to practice doing what you love while your profession is also in high demand. After applying to all the programs that interest you (a daunting task all on its own), and you have made it through the always intimidating interview process, only one question remains: How exactly do you choose the best PA program for you? This is your chance to decide your path to your destination, and you should want it to be a memorable one. Apart from the high first time PANCE pass rates, the cadaver lab, curriculum, and location, sometimes you just get that “feeling” when you know that something is right for you. The PA program at Methodist University gave me that feeling.

Location, location, location. In my opinion, location should always be a top priority in selecting the best program for you. I come from the fourth largest city in the country, and it was terrifying to think about moving across the country to attend graduate school. While I think coming from a high population area is a good thing, it may not always be the best learning environment for graduate school. The atmosphere here is perfect for an arduous journey such as PA school: not too many distractions, but still enough for the occasional get-away from the constant studying. The tour of the campus was definitely a mind-blowing experience. When I took a tour of the MUPAP facilities, its many features blew me away, including their state-of-the-art cadaver lab. There were many study rooms, clinical examination rooms, a kitchen, a beautiful lecture hall, and the offices of the faculty and staff were just steps away if you needed them. The landscaping was always maintained as well, making it a great place for relaxing (in our case, studying) outdoors. Believe me when I tell you that you have your work cut out for you, and you need your conditions to be as optimal as possible.

There’s a tremendous sense of family within this program. By the time of my interview with Methodist, I had already prepared myself for an interrogation. I was definitely surprised by how welcoming they were during the interview. The faculty and staff have been nothing short of phenomenal from my interview dates up until now. The faculty also has some of the best personalities that you will ever encounter. They are the most caring bunch of individuals that I have ever met in all of my years of education, and they genuinely want you to succeed. The majority of the faculty has either been through this very program before, or was here since the establishment of the program; as a result, they know exactly what we need to know to succeed in our future careers. There is such a wealth of medical knowledge to absorb that it is like drinking from a fire hose. Fortunately, the faculty knows how to break the information down into a more palatable form. They instruct, they practice, and most of all, they care. When you spend four to five years of your life being in a classroom of 200 or more students, you get used to the fact that the instructors don’t have much time to communicate with you on a personal level. As an undergrad, I can literally count on my fingers how many times I ever had a laidback conversation with instructors that included laughter and reassurance. Here, it seems so much more commonplace than anywhere else. The beauty of having small classes is that it allows the faculty to focus more on each individual student. It also encourages bonding between your classmates as well. I feel that I have made some lifelong friends during this journey. They encourage you to always put your best foot forward, and to trust that they will not let you falter.

All aesthetics aside, the Methodist PA program is a “what you see is what you get” type of program, and that attribute matches perfectly with the type of person that I am. This program breeds nothing short of top-notch PAs. Employers from hospitals and clinics nationwide know that Methodist’s PAs are some of the highest quality health care providers that they will ever hire, and that alone is enough for me to trust them with my education. You owe it to yourself to be an excellent PA, and with that final message, I will leave you with this famous quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

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Allie Baggstrom , PA-S

Class of 2015
Califon, NJ
North Carolina State University

I became aware of Methodist University’s Physician Assistant Program from graduates of the program. I worked at a local urgent care for two years after I graduated from NC State University. The PAs I worked with graduated from Methodist and were by far some of the best providers I had ever met. When applying to PA school I knew there were many excellent options in North Carolina, but I also felt strongly that MU’s program was my top choice. A school with a strong PANCE pass rate, encouraging mission statement, and faculty who were genuine and proud of their school made me even more excited to attend this program and become a Physician Assistant.

My interview experience solidified my excitement for the program. The faculty and staff greeted me with a warm welcome. There were senior students to keep me at ease during such a nervous experience. I was treated as a desirable applicant in their eyes, not just a number. While touring the campus I was impressed with the state of the art equipment and facilities this program had to offer. The cadaver lab and the amount of knowledge I would gain from the hands on experience was a huge deciding factor as well.

I could not be happier with my choice to attend MU’s program! The faculty and staff are not only impressive and knowledgeable teachers; they are also compassionate people. The program regularly brings in lecturers who are practicing providers that offer enlightening, current clinical perspectives. At Methodist, we embody what it means to be part of a team. We collaborate as classmates whose individual experiences come together to create a diverse learning environment.

I know the impressive qualities of the program will enable me to practice with the highest quality of care and confidence. I am now and will forever be proud to be a Methodist Monarch!

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Christopher Cain, PA-S

Class of 2014
Raeford, NC
Campbell University

There are several reasons why Methodist University's PA program became my first choice. The decision to attend PA school and work towards my future goals was not easy. I had invested 15 years in the US Army, a job that offered security and a reliable mean to support my family. Since I joined the Army I knew that I wanted to work in the health care field, but the thought of leaving the Army to attend school for 27 months was extremely difficult. I knew that in order to take this risk I would need the best program available. I needed a great education as well as a recognized school to ensure that I would be able to provide for my family in the long term. Taking a close look at Methodist University's PA program's pass rate for the national certification was reassuring. They have a high first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam, making them one of the best programs in the nation.

When I attended Methodist the day of the interview, it quickly became clear this university would meet all my needs and the needs of my family. I was greeted my senior students who made me feel comfortable and actually prepared me for each of my interviews. They were able to make a stressful situation much easier. They talked to me about my life, future plans, and why I wanted to attend their PA program. In the interviews the instructors were well prepared with tough, but fair questions and able to answer my questions and concerns about attending their school. The interviews were not only about accepting me into their program, but also trying to prove that they were the ones that could be trusted to give me the education and skills to become a great PA.

If I could sum up Methodist University's PA program with one word it would be "family." The people here are always asking how you are doing, how the family is getting along, and if they can help me in any way possible. There is always a staff member available to talk to and they will go above and beyond to ensure our main focus is on becoming the best health care provider possible. The senior class members are willing to sit down and give advice on instructors and classes; sometimes they even help us with studying for exams. The instructors and senior class members are professional and easily seen as role models for the younger class to follow. I am confident that Methodist University's PA program was the best choice for me to realize my long-term goals and aspirations.

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Martina Fleming, PA-S

Class of 2015
Winterville, NC
East Carolina University

Methodist was not my first choice in PA programs..I know this is strange to read on the student testimonial page, but bear with me. I applied to six other schools in NC, but my mind was set on attending a school near my hometown. The idea of moving to a new city and starting such an intense program did not seem appealing. I knew that I would need a strong support system throughout this program, all of which I would receive at home. After researching the program (including reading the student testimonials) and seeing what it had to offer, I decided to apply to Methodist.

After a few months of waiting, I secured my first interview at Methodist. I was very impressed with the interview process. The personal touch made me feel like the faculty really cared about me. I felt like I was more than just a number. There were current students at the interview who seemed genuinely excited about choosing this program. They sparked my desire to attend Methodist. This interview set a high standard, and I began to evaluate my subsequent interviews based on my Methodist visit. None of the other schools were compatible, and I gladly enrolled.

Once here, I discovered that the personal touch I experienced at the interview continued into the classroom. The professors genuinely want to see us succeed and become competent physician assistants. They are available to guide us through stressful moments, and have spent extra time explaining relevant material. The professors are concerned about the total student, inside and outside the classroom. In choosing Methodist, I have gained the support system that I knew would be so critical to my success in the program. I highly recommend the program, especially to those of you who may be in the same situation I was not too long ago!

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Jonathan Kearns, PA-S

Class of 2015
Boston, MA
St. Anselm College
Special Forces Medic, U.S. Army Veteran

The decision to attend PA school was a firm one I made some years ago. Before I could apply I had to take science prerequisites since my undergraduate degree was in Political Science. I completed my courses at Methodist and immediately knew this was where I wanted to continue my education. The environment is welcoming and each professor finds that delicate balance between demanding the best from each student and inspiring students to push a bit harder than we even think we are capable of.

Lucky for me, Methodist University Physician Assistant Program had a great reputation that only reaffirmed my decision to attend PA school here. MUPAP is consistently putting out excellent graduates who are doing great work in the community. I was a Special Forces Medic in the Army and often worked alongside PAs, and in my opinion, the PAs who came from Methodist were by far the best. Being a student here I now see why that was the case. There is constant focus on becoming the best practitioner one can be. Clearly there is a lot of memorization as well, but our professors reiterate that one must always be able to see the forest through the trees. The ultimate goal of the MUPAP is to always put the patient first.

The interview process was also something that set MUPAP apart. In my opinion, MUPAP was the only school that actually “interviewed” me. They put effort into their questions. I am pleased that while I was looking to find a school to fit me that the MUPAP was looking for students to also fit them. They incorporated multiple interviews with multiple professors, asked personal questions about why I wanted to be a PA and how I planned to deal with the rigorous demands of PA school. This character and personal interest displayed during my MUPAP interview process has transitioned to my experiences as a student as well. Each faculty member cares about every student; they know our backgrounds and what is going on in on lives. MUPAP actively promotes a community atmosphere where students are encouraged to help each other and every professor is available after hours if extra help is needed.

Another wonderful aspect about Methodist University is their accommodations for veterans like me. For veterans using their GI Bill, MUPAP is a yellow ribbon school. I found out during my application process that while many schools claim to participate in the yellow ribbon program, there are often restrictions surrounding that claim. For example, many are only so for a certain number of applicants or only for undergraduate studies. That is not the case at Methodist. Using the GI Bill here is flawless. Their staff is extremely helpful and knowledgeable on navigating the rules, regulations and challenges that arise when veterans use their GI bill benefits for school. I am proud to attend a University who consistently graduates outstanding Physician Assistants, and proud to attend a University with such an outstanding record of supporting our veterans. I could not be happier with my decision to attend Methodist University Physician Assistant Program.

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Tana Kornachuk , PA-S

Class of 2015
Yellowstone, MT
Gonzaga University

The goal of any Physician Assistant school applicant is to earn the coveted “C” behind the PA and to become a competent, compassionate health care provider. There are over one hundred and eighty Physician Assistant programs nationwide, all of them leading students toward the common goal of becoming a certified PA. Of all the choices of schools, all with the same end goal, what makes Methodist stand out? Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”. At Methodist, it is more than just becoming a qualified, considerate PA, it is about the process—the journey. Students commit to twenty-seven months of schooling—fourteen months filled with extensive classroom learning and thirteen months of hands-on clinical rotations. Twenty-seven months of intensive schooling and clinicals to become a PA…twenty-seven months of a life journey.

Of course, there are some huge draws to Methodist’s PA program. The class of 2013 has a PANCE pass rate of 97%. The state of the art cadaver lab allows for extensive hands on experience with teams of just four students assigned to each cadaver. The small class size creates an optimal learning environment where faculty and students can interact. And, the people…the people make the journey exceptional.

The program administrators have a very literal open door policy. They are always available to answer questions, hear concerns, implement change, and provide support. The upper classmen give advice, lend textbooks, and provide social outlets. The community stands behind the program. Area health care practitioners provide many opportunities for students’ clinical rotations. In addition, Methodist’s PA program puts on a golf tournament and road race yearly and both are well received and supported by the community. Finally, the journey would certainly not be complete without classmates. Classmates that pull each other along, bring cupcakes on birthdays, put on late night study sessions, meet for dinner, and share in the unique journey of PA school.

Methodist provides exceptional details to the journey—from the faculty to the cadaver lab to the PANCE pass rate. I am grateful that Methodist is part of my journey!

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Victoria Locklear , PA-S

Class of 2015
Maxton, NC
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

I am so grateful to be a part of the Methodist family! My decision to attend Methodist PA program was the best decision I have ever made regarding my educational experience. From the application process to now I have never doubted my choice to become a Physician Assistant or to join this program.

The phenomenal PANCE rates, small class size, and awesome anatomy lab are the initial aspects that drew me to this program. During my interview I quickly realized that the facilities were outstanding, but most importantly the faculty and staff are supportive and advocates for all of the students. In joining this PA program, I have truly gained a family and I am appreciative of everything that this program has contributed to my learning. I will begin clinical rotations soon and although I am a little nervous, I am confident in the fact that MUPAP has done a great job preparing me for the next phase.

This program has and will continue to be challenging, but I am grateful to be a part of it. I remind myself that nothing of great value can be obtained easily, and after graduation I will be able and ready to provide quality health care as a PA in my hometown community. I will gladly let everyone know where I received my education; the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program an encourage those that I mentor to truly consider this PA program as their first choice.

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Aaron Manshaem , PA-S

Class of 2015
Hudsonville, MI
Michigan State University

After the hard work I endured to prepare for physician assistant school, I needed a PA program that could foster my education and skills. I wanted a program that had a record for success facing the PANCE exam and offered the tools to enhance my PA career.

Methodist University quickly caught my attention when I learned about their superior PANCE pass rate. My undergraduate university had a typical class size over 200 students, and I appreciated the fact that Methodist limited their program to 40 students. The faculty testimonials online made it clear that Methodist carefully selected educators with a passion to teach, and of course a state-of- the- art cadaver lab also gained my interest.

Interview time: Now I would find out the reality of a program that appeared flawless on paper. I arrived ready for an intimidating and grueling day of interviews. Instead, the faculty, staff and students provided a familial welcome. During the interview process, the detailed organization made it apparent that Methodist valued my visit. I witnessed the much talked about cadaver lab and was quite impressed with the integrated technology. The program surpassed my expectations; I felt privileged to receive my invitation to be part of the MU team.

Now being a member of the program, I have been challenged daily to move out of my comfort zone and develop skills that will be essential when my title is PA-C. Every semester completed is a badge of honor along the physician assistant path.

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David Renan , PA-S

Class 2015
Los Angeles, CA
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

I remember reading student testimonials when I was going through the selection process, trying to find the right PA program for myself. I knew PA school was going to be a challenging couple of years and I wanted to be able to emerge on the other side not only confident and prepared, but also glad for the experience. I wanted a high-quality training program that would also provide a comfortable, supportive and hopefully enjoyable learning environment. Methodist had an excellent PANCE pass rate percentage, outstanding facilities that were entirely dedicated to PA students (no competition with MD, nursing students etc.), a faculty composed of highly experienced instructors, and a small class size. The first items on that list were all obvious pluses academically, but the small class size was also significant for me. It provides more room for interaction, both between students, and between students and faculty, which, in my experience, greatly facilitates the learning process.

Those were all the obvious benefits to Methodist. And after having been here I have come to appreciate the more subtle, yet equally significant benefits to learning here. The faculty and staff excel at supporting and interacting with the students, and actively seek to create an effective and comfortable learning environment. They are always interested in class feedback, and the door is always open for whatever questions and concerns might arise. Students are encouraged to succeed both as a group and as individuals through cooperation and competence; and the end result is a family like atmosphere that has really added to my learning experience. Also, the facilities here really are remarkable, and they greatly contribute to both the training process and the “home away from home” feel of the program (you should see the cadaver lab, lecture hall, and student lounge if you haven’t already).

We spend a lot of time here, and whether working or lounging (yes, it happens), it helps to have such functional and comfortable surroundings.

Academically the program is tough and challenging, but it turns out that if you manage your time, do the work and help each other out, it can also be rewarding and enjoyable. I am glad I chose Methodist, and I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

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