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

Alumni Testimonials

Tiffany MillsPatrick Cording, PA-C Tiffany Mills
Mills, PA-C
Jared Litty
Litty, PA-C
Valerie Taylor
Taylor, PA-C
Valerie Taylor
Pessetti, PA-C

Patrick Cording, PA-C

PA Class of 2010
Annapolis, MD
Undergrad: James Madison University, '04
United States Air Force Family Practice Physician Assistant 2010-Present

Methodist University Physician Assistant Program was the best educational choice I have made to date. From the moment I first saw the school and met with the students and faculty, I knew that it was where I wanted to attend. I applied to 16 different programs and interviewed at 14. From the beginning, Methodist was great. The admissions team was very professional and incredibly timely. The students and faculty I met at my interview were incredible. It was the only interview I completed that I felt completely comfortable and at home. When I received my letter of acceptance, my choice was made.

I was interested in Methodist for many reasons. It boasts one of the best PANCE pass rates in the country. It has state of the art facilities that will rival most medical schools. The class sizes are small and intimate, facilitating a great learning experience and fostering a lot of one-on-one time with the professors. The staff is truly first rate. Comprised of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and physician assistants, it provides a great depth of knowledge and multiple facets of medicine to assist in producing exceptional physician assistants.

Fayetteville and the surrounding North Carolina communities provide a great place to learn and hone your skills. Patients in the area prove to be very complicated and need a high level of care. The professors at Methodist continue to do a phenomenal job preparing the students for these difficult patients during the didactic year. The amount of information you need to learn in that first year is daunting to say the least. However, the instructors are amazing, and they do not hesitate to provide extra help when needed. After completing my didactic year, I felt I was ready to tackle the tougher patients in the surrounding communities.

The preceptors in the area are fantastic. They are excellent teachers and provide great opportunities to learn. In Fayetteville, physician assistant students do not have to compete with medical students, interns and residents to treat patients. This is particularly important on specialty rotations where physician assistant students often find themselves at the end of the line to assist surgeons in the operating room or to do procedures in the office.

The relationships that are created while on clinical rotations, more often than not, lead to employment opportunities upon completing the program. Most of my classmates had secured great positions prior to graduation. I made some truly good friends with my preceptors and was offered several excellent job opportunities. However, I was already committed to serving in the United States Air Force upon completion of my studies.

I can say without a doubt, that I was very well prepared for my work in the military after graduating from Methodist. I am currently employed at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO in a very busy Family Practice clinic. I average 20 patients per day, most of whom are retirees and military dependents with multiple diseases and co-morbidities. The training that I received at Methodist and in Fayetteville truly prepared me for the older patient population I attend to. Currently, my team at the Academy consists of my supervising physician, myself, our nurse and four medical technicians. We routinely treat some of the highest acuity patients in a clinic of 15 providers and an empanelment of 20,000+ patients. Our team consistently sees the most patients in our clinic on a weekly basis. We have held the top one and two spots, out of 15, for diabetes management since our team was created. Our team is currently implementing and will be running the Diabetes Management Clinic for all of Family Practice. I firmly believe that my ability to treat diabetes well was due to my training at Methodist and working with some incredible providers in Fayetteville and the surrounding communities.

After being at the Air Force Academy for approximately one month, I volunteered for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. During my tour, I treated a variety of illnesses and injuries in a very austere location. The team I deployed with consisted of a trauma surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon, myself, two nurses and several technicians. We had very limited resources at our disposal. In our clinic there was a CBC machine, urine dipsticks, an ISTAT, one portable X-ray and two operating tables. We routinely found ourselves falling back on our training from school and utilizing good history taking, complete physical exams and our clinical judgment to make the right diagnosis. We treated everything from mass casualties and single/poly traumas to myocardial infarctions and complicated pregnancies. We attended to over 1,500 patients, provided the initial resuscitation to over 250 trauma patients and assisted each other as needed in more than 300 surgeries. I believe wholeheartedly that my training at Methodist allowed me to be a valuable asset to our Forward Surgical Team.

I would highly recommend the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program to anyone interested in becoming a great physician assistant. If given the opportunity to repeat my graduate studies, I would not change a thing!

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Tiffany Mills

Tiffany Mills, PA-C

MU 2009 Graduate and PA Class of 2011
Epsom, NH

Coming to Methodist was the best decision I could have made. Preparing for PA school seemed daunting at times, but my advisors in the undergraduate MU Biology program and the PA program administration were always very helpful in guiding me to what had to be completed and by what time. There was always someone answering my questions and I felt like a part of the program even before I ever walked through the doors.

Once in the PA program, I realized the faculty makes all the difference. If a program does not have faculty that supports their students there is no way those students will succeed. The faculty not only teaches you the most relevant clinical medicine, they go out of their way to make sure that you are doing well. They teach you that medicine is not about treating the illness it is about treating the person as a whole. That is what makes a great clinician. The faculty also cares about the whole student and not just what score they got on the test. Knowing that the students and faculty have a caring, supportive relationship is invaluable when going through this program. The support that I have received from the faculty MU PA program, not just in my studies, but in everyday life, has made my experience at MU so meaningful. What the faculty has taught me, in and out of the classroom, easily translates into the relationships I build with my own patients.

Additionally, having great faculty is only one part of the puzzle. The facilities here can rival if not exceed some medical schools. The onsite cadaver lab and three buildings completely devoted to the PA program really help to give you a top notch education. Having a cadaver lab was invaluable to the medical learning experience.

Finally, my classmates and I felt very prepared and the physicians we rotated with were very impressed with our knowledge base. Getting the one-on-one time with the clinicians has been the biggest benefit to going to a smaller school. The clinicians really get to know you and you start working in a team atmosphere from day one in the program. That is so important because being a PA is all about teamwork. To have the approval and respect of seasoned physicians…well that speaks volumes about the program that trained us!

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Jared Litty

Jared Litty, PA-C

PA Class of 2011
Hudsonville, MI

I chose to come to Methodist mostly because of its reputation. I heard from area healthcare workers, current and former students, and faculty that the program was top notch. The cadaver lab, small class size, clinically relevant teaching style, and excellent PANCE record are only some of MU's strengths.

The cadaver lab is state-of-the-art and provides countless learning opportunities for students. Class sizes are small, allowing teachers to give each student the attention they need to learn the material. Teaching is clinically based to facilitate well rounded learning. Finally, Methodist has an exceptional pass rate on the national boards (PANCE)—one of the best in the nation.

Fayetteville has a lot to offer within the healthcare arena, and the lack of medical schools and other PA schools in the area make Methodist PA students and graduates invaluable assets to a growing healthcare business. There is certainly no shortage of opportunities for new grads, as many will get to choose between multiple job offers in primary care or several different specialties.

I have loved Methodist University's PA program—wouldn't trade my experiences here for the world.

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Valerie Taylor

Valerie Taylor, PA-C

PA Class of 2011
Fayetteville, NC

When choosing a Physician Assistance program I wanted only the best to help me succeed in my career. I wanted a program that would not only help me excel in the classroom but also in the clinic. Methodist University stood out to me because it ranks highly against other PA programs in the state. Its high pass rate on the PANCE and their own cadaver lab were two major things that stood out to me. In addition with it being connected to an undergraduate program where I had a great experience, I knew Methodist was the place for me.

I had no regrets once getting into the program. The small classroom environment enabled me to get instruction and learn on a more personal level. There has never been an instance when an instructor was unable to meet my academic needs outside of the classroom. Also, having professors that are Physician Assistants and Medical Doctors brought real life situations to the classroom and has allowed me to relate book knowledge to clinical practice. With the high demands and stress of PA school I found it very comforting that the instructors and faculty went out of their way to make sure not only that I had an adequate base of knowledge but also to provide mentorship.

Choosing the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program was a good decision. It has prepared me with the knowledge and confidence to be a successful PA. Stepping out into the community, it gives me satisfaction in knowing people have greater appreciation and respect for me being a Methodist student. I know that after I graduate, I will be able to continue my dream and serve the community with the opportunity I was given from Methodist.

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Staci Pessetti, PA-C

PA Class of 2012
Fayetteville, NC

Methodist University's Physician Assistant Program was a phenomenal education decision, and one that I did not take lightly. I moved from Michigan to attend PA school, I applied to 19 schools, interviewed at 11, and Methodist was the clear standout in all of those experiences. From the beginning of the admissions process and continuing through my career as a PA, Methodist's PA Program is highly professional with excellent communication and resources in the faculty and staff, a great network of colleagues and support in the academic world, and a valuable close-knit community in all steps of the journey.

The Methodist PA Program is an excellent learning environment, with growing and advancing facilities and experiences on-site during the didactic year, highly competent and compassionate faculty who are committed clinicians in the Fayetteville area, broad opportunities for rotation experiences, and engaged MUPAP alumni throughout each step of the journey. Most will, rightly, boast of our full onsite cadaver lab, solely used by MUPA students, which provides an incredible knowledge base to build upon clinically. In addition, there a many clinical skills labs and sessions to learn a multitude of hands-on procedures throughout the duration of training. The philosophy of education and training is unique from other PA programs, with a focus on the team aspect of health care and the personal nature of interacting with colleagues and patients, rather than a cut-throat race or competition. The faculty is up to date on current medical treatments, provides relevant clinical cases and dilemmas to learn from, and constantly uses student feedback to improve the experience and process of the program. The PA program facilities are highly valuable to the learning demands of the students, and the Methodist community provides many other additional support services throughout the education and job-seeking process to provide a well rounded graduate.

I found that the MUPAP curriculum and experiences provided exceptional competency to exceed in rotations, as well as to thrive as a new PA in the field. The program has molded an impeccable mixture of challenging students with a high intensity didactic load, providing academic and personal support along the way, and also instilling excellent values and ethics into students throughout the journey. This is more than just a school to me, it was an educational experience that provided the best possible training for my career while also developing me as a person and a person of influence in my community. My experience has been so worth the move from Michigan that I have stayed in the area and continue to be involved in the PA program and the Fayetteville community.

The Methodist University Physician Assistant Program gets my highest recommendation for graduate medical education, and especially to individuals who are pursuing the unique training that produces genuine, compassionate, invested, humble, and influential Physician Assistants.

Photo credit: Jeku Arce Photography

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