Primary Care FAQs
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Additional Contact Information

If you have questions regarding course requirements, you may contact: Online Reference Resources
  • Foothill College Online Library
  • Foothill College Online Library Internet Resources & Tools
  • Reference to common units of measure
  • Conversions between many common units of measure
  • Medline
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Consultant Diagnostic Database Cornell University
  • Cornell University CONSULTANT
Important Contacts

Please refer to: PCA Program, Stanford University Medical Center

Brochures may be obtained fromĘthe Primary Care Associate Program:
Stanford University, School of Medicine
1215 Welch Rd, Modular G
Palo Alto, CA 94305-5408

Phone: (650) 725-6959
Fax Number: (650) 723-9692

Primary Care Website
Please refer to: PCA Program, Stanford University Medical Center

Brochures and applications may be obtained by contacting the Primary Care Associate Program:

Stanford University, School of Medicine
1215 Welch Rd, Modular G
Palo Alto, CA 94305-5408

Phone: 650-725-6959
Fax Number: 650-723-9692


Answers

What are Preceptorships?

The Primary Care Associate Program offers a curriculum that emphasizes community-based clinical training in combination with a didactic program. Much of the training takes place in the office of a preceptor - a practicing physician who teaches the student during the course of their regular practice. During this preceptorship, the Program retains responsibility for the students' training and evaluation.

The commitment of a general or family physician to serve as the student's preceptor is not an admission requirement. After admission, however, the student is required to find, and have approved, a preceptor by August 21st or forfeit their place in the class. Preceptorships occur in a variety of clinical settings throughout California. Applicants from the community satellites, if accepted, must locate preceptors in their designated satellite county.

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Do you offer Housing?

Housing is not available on the Stanford campus. Students are responsible for securing their own housing. Guidance in locating housing is available through the Primary Care Associate Program office upon acceptance into the Program. For general information, please see the Stanford University homepage under "Housing".

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Do you offer Electronic Mail?

To facilitate communication among faculty, staff, and classmates, students in the Primary Care Associate Program are required to have electronic mail accounts. A free e-mail account works best for students who need to access their account from various locations. This e-mail account can also serve as a professional account for correspondence in the future. Students are expected to check their e-mail daily.

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Do you offer Financial Aid?

The Primary Care Associate Program is a full-time commitment and employment during this time is strongly discouraged. Applicants are advised to find and apply for financial aid resources even before they are notified of their admission status.

Inquiries about financial assistance can be directed to the Financial Aid office at Foothill College. Scholarship, loan, and grant information can also be obtained from the internet and at a public library. Students enrolled in the Program are eligible to apply for veterans' benefits and federal/state grants and loans. When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), include Foothill College among the list of schools to which your information should be sent. The Title IV Code for Foothill College is 001199. The deadline to apply for the FAFSA is in early March. Candidates are encouraged to submit their FASFA application early because funds are often allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Please pay special attention to this as it will effect your ability to get loans and scholarships.

Applicants who are not California residents should note that additional fees are required. Residency usually can be established after living in the state for one year.

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What are the Estimated Educational Costs of the program?
See: http://pcap.stanford.edu/financial.html

Related Information:
Foothill College Financial Aid
Collegeboard.com - Paying for College
National Health Service Corps 800-221-9393
Health Professions Education Foundation/ 800-773-1669

Estimated Costs For Entire Program
Academic Year: Spring 2012 - Winter 2014
Educational Fees

California (CA) Resident
Enrollment fees:
$31/unit x 98.5 units
$3,053.50
Foothill Student Fee:
$46.00 x 8
$368
Stanford University School of Medicine
*Certification Fees: $6,750/quarter:
$47,250.00
Total Fees:$ 50,671.50
Total CA Resident Costs:$50,671.50
Non California (CA) Resident
Non Resident Fee:
$138.00 per unit
$ 13,593.00
Total Non-CA Resident Cost:$64,264.50
Additional required fees
Books & medical equipment:$2,200
Home computer w/email & internet access:$1,500
Fee for online logging software:$90

Living expenses vary among individuals and are excluded from this table. Also, current Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination fees of $425 (minimum) are not included. These figures are provided for planning purposes only, and are subject to change. Fees typically are increased for the second fall quarter of the program.

Tuition fees may be refunded under certain circumstances. The specific policy is listed in the quarterly Foothill College Schedule of Classes. Any questions concerning Foothill College tuition and fees should be directed to the Foothill College Admissions and Records Office. Any questions regarding Certification fees should be directed to the Stanford University School of Medicine Primary care Associate Program.
* Certification fee: this fee is established by Stanford University School of Medicine and applies to the quarterly certification process conducted by the Primary Care Associate Program. The quarterly certification process culminates at graduation in the award of the Certificate of Clinical Proficiency, Stanford University School of Medicine. Certification from Stanford University School of Medicine is required to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. The certification fee is not established or mandated by Foothill College and does not preclude enrollment in any Foothill College course.

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What are the Technical Standards for the program?

The technical standards for admission establish the expectations and abilities considered essential for students admitted to the Primary Care Associate Program in order to achieve the level of competency required for graduation and practice. All students admitted to the Primary Care Associate Program are expected to be able to demonstrate the abilities specified below.

Primary Care Associate Program students must have:

  • the mental capacity to assimilate and learn a large amount of complex, technical and detailed information in order to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans
  • the ability to maintain composure and emotional stability during periods of high stress
  • the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients from different social and cultural backgrounds, as well as develop effective professional rapport with patients and co-workers
  • the ability to record examination and diagnostic results clearly, accurately and efficiently
  • adequate sensory function and motor coordination to fulfill minimum competency objectives for inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation necessary to perform a physical examination
  • sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination in order to utilize standard medical/surgical instruments and possess sufficient control of the upper extremities to meet the physical requirements for training and performing a safe physical examination
  • sufficient strength and motor coordination to stand and walk for up to 90% of work time, to lift up to 45 pounds and to carry up to 25 pounds
  • the ability to learn and perform common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (e.g. blood drawing, suturing, etc.) and interpret the results
  • a high degree of coordination of motor skills necessary to respond to emergency situations quickly and appropriately

Candidates with special needs are urged to ask questions about the Program's technical standards for clarification and to determine whether they can meet the requirements with or without reasonable accommodations. Questions may be directed to the Director of Admissions. Revealing a disability is voluntary; however, such disclosure is necessary before any accommodations may be made in the learning environment or in the Program's procedures. Information about disabilities is handled in a confidential manner. Reasonable accommodations will be made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requests for accommodations require program and institutional approval and must be submitted in writing, allowing sufficient time prior to matriculation for action on these requests. Candidates who feel that they may not meet the technical standards are encouraged to contact the Director of Admissions to discuss and identify what accommodations, if any, can be made by the Primary Care Associate Program so that the candidate might be able to meet the standards.

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Technical Standards

The abilities and skills which students must possess in order to complete the training associated with the PCA Program are referred to as Technical Standards. These essential abilities are a group of minimal physical and cognitive abilities as well as sufficient mental and emotional stability to confirm that students are able to complete the entire course of study, participate fully in all aspects of PA training, and be deployable as competent PAs, with or without reasonable accommodation. The PCA program has the ethical responsibility for the safety of patients with whom students and graduates will come in contact, and to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent PAs. Thus, it is important that persons admitted to the PCA program possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice medicine. Students must verify that they meet these Technical Standards prior to or at the time of matriculation to the PCA Program and maintain them during their PCAP training. Students are obligated to alert the PCA program of any change in their ability to fulfill the technical standards. Students found to be in violation of the Technical Standards are at risk for dismissal from the program.

Technical Standard I: Observation
Students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in physical examination sessions, clinical skills workshops, observe the difference of normal versus pathological states. They must be able to obtain a medical history and perform a complete physical examination in order to integrate findings based on these observations and to develop an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan.

Technical Standard II: Communication
Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, their families, and members of the health team. Students must be able to communicate effectively with patients from different social and cultural backgrounds, as well as develop effective professional rapport with patients and co-workers. Students must be able to record examination and diagnostics results clearly, accurately and efficiently. Students must be able to communicate effectively in English with patients, family and other health care professionals in a variety of patient settings. Technical Standard III: Motor Function
Students must possess the capacity to perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. They must be able to respond to emergency situations in a timely manner and provide general and emergency care. They must possess adequate sensory function and motor coordination to fulfill minimum competency objectives for inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation necessary to perform a physical examination. They must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination in order to utilize standard medical/surgical instruments to participate in the inpatient and outpatient setting and other clinical activities.

Technical Standard IV: Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
Students must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and use computer technology. Students must have the mental capacity to assimilate and learn a large amount of complex, technical and detailed information in order to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans. Technical Standard V: Behavioral and Social Attributes Students must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly, without warning, and/or in unpredictable ways. They must accept responsibility for learning, exercising good judgment, and promptly completing all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. They must understand the legal and ethical standards of the medical profession. Students must be able to work effectively, respectfully and professionally as part of the healthcare team, and to interact with patients, their families, and health care personnel in a courteous, professional, and respectful manner. Students must be able to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes.

Technical Standard VI: Ethical and Legal Standards
Students must be able to understand the basis and content of both general and medical ethics. The student must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility, and tolerance. Student must be able to recognize limitations in their knowledge, skills and abilities and to seek appropriate assistance with their identified limitations. Students whose performance is impaired by abuse of alcohol or other substances are not suitable candidates for admission, promotion, or graduation. In addition, should the student be convicted of any felony offense while in the PCA program, they agree to immediately notify the program as to the nature of the conviction. Failure to disclosure prior or new offenses can lead to disciplinary action that may include dismissal. Students must meet the legal standards to be licensed as a physician assistant in the State of California.

Adapted from Stanford School of Medicine Technical Non-Academic Standard, http://med.stanford.edu/md/admission/technical _standards.html, Accessed May 20, 2009

What type of Academic Credit will I receive?

All graduates earn a Certificate of Clinical Proficiency from the Stanford University School of Medicine. This certificate does not represent Stanford University Academic units. Academic credit is awarded by Foothill College at the Associate of Science degree level. Registered nurses participating in the Program qualify for 30-60 contact units with the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). The BRN Provider number is 01306.

Two California State Universities grant credit and advanced standing for a higher degree upon completion of the Primary Care Associate Program. San Josée; State University not only grants credit toward obtaining a MPH, but also accepts credits for a Bachelor of Science in the Health Sciences or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. San Francisco State University grants credit toward a Baccalaureate or Master's degree in Nursing. The amount of additional time and schooling involved in pursuing advanced degrees varies and depends on coursework completed by a student prior to entering the Primary Care Associate Program.

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What type of License will I receive?

Upon completion of the Program, all graduates are expected to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination offered by the National Commission for Certification of Physician Assistants. Passing the certifying examination is required for licensure in California and most other states. Primary Care Associate Program graduates have consistently performed well on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

In California, physician assistants practice in accordance with the existing Physician Assistant regulations incorporated in the California Administrative Code. These regulations allow graduates who have passed the certifying examination to perform direct patient-care services under the supervision of primary care physicians.

The Primary Care Associate Program is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner program. Therefore, upon graduation, a registered nurse may practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner in California by submitting an application to the Board of Registered Nursing. Standardized procedures are the legal mechanism for registered nurses and nurse practitioners to perform functions which otherwise would be considered a function of medicine. The guidelines are described in the California Code of Regulations, Section 1474. In the workplace, the graduate will function under the regulations for either a physician assistant or a family nurse practitioner but not both in the same setting.

Many Primary Care Associate Program graduates return to their home communities to practice as physician assistants or family nurse practitioners. State and national job listings are maintained by the Primary Care Associate Program.

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