During their first year at MEDEX—the didactic year—students spend the majority time in the classroom at the UW Health Sciences Building. The rigorous full-time coursework teaches the art of medicine such that students vastly increase their knowledge from their prior careers in healthcare. Outside the classroom, students are able to apply these new skills with retirement home volunteers, care for standardized patients, interview complex patients, and gain exposure to various medical procedures. The year includes two weeks of observation experiences with practicing PAs and MDs, reinforcing the classroom work and preparing students for the clinical year ahead.
What follows are some first-hand stories and videos about experiences in and outside the MEDEX classroom during the didactic year.
When the first case of COVID-19 case was discovered at the University of Washington, MEDEX moved all courses to remote learning on March 30, 2020. The MEDEX didactic faculty was able to respond immediately with their reimagined plan for PA education, utilizing recorded lectures, Zoom webinars, and other online tools. In response to these changes, students stepped up to learn in new and sometimes challenging ways.
May 12, 2020
What does it take to become a physician assistant? Apart from the basic clinical skills of medicine, one must cultivate trusting relationships with the patients. During their first year at MEDEX Northwest, PA students learn the necessary clinical skills in the classroom setting— taking a medical history, and conducting medical examinations. Then they apply this learning to their first patients: elderly, high-functioning residents at local retirement homes. Over seven weeks the students visit their assigned residents, applying their newly learned medical skills. Most importantly, the students develop relationships with their charge, discovering how to build patient rapport. In this video, we follow three first-year Seattle PA students as they move from classroom theory to patient engagement.
March 10, 2014