Penn College offers an updated Physician Assistant Center

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Penn College of Technology’s Physician Assistant Program hosted an open house on September 15 to showcase recently completed renovations that promise to provide a real-world environment for hands-on learning.

Throughout the Physician Assistant Center, updates provide equipment and spaces that reflect the scenarios students will encounter in the clinical rotations they complete during their final year of study. New spaces include a family medicine lab, a women’s health lab, and an emergency medicine lab.

Joshua A. said: “These improvements will enhance learning and allow us to expand our curriculum, as well as increase the level of realism and clinical decision-making in our clinical simulations,” said Bauer, director of the Physician Assistant Program. “With these upgrades, our students will be able to learn, grow and even make mistakes regarding the safety of our labs so they can shine when they set foot in the clinic, starting on the first day of their rotations.”

The center’s state-of-the-art evaluation laboratory is equipped for teaching large groups and provides space for specialty education, with a dedicated area for pediatric and adolescent medicine, as well as laparoscopic trainers, a surgical table and scrub basin, and simulation mannequins of various “ages” that can be programmed to mimic pathology. Students can practice using hand-held ultrasound technology on several mannequins.

The lobby resembles a waiting room and provides a space for students to meet, work, or relax between classes.

The family medicine laboratory is equipped with the same examination schedule, instruments, and appearance as a typical family physician’s office.

The Women’s Health Lab is equipped with an advanced obstetric patient simulator – a model that helps instructors immerse students in the full range of obstetric events, from early pregnancy complications and high-risk births to postpartum emergencies and general nursing care. The accompanying “Child” figurine can also be programmed.

The anatomy lab, where students learn using cadavers, has been enhanced with updated operating room lights and an overhead camera for instructor demonstrations.

The Emergency Medicine Laboratory, built with support from the Dr. and Mrs. Arthur William Phillips Charitable Fund, provides three emergency room beds, EKG machines and other real or simulated emergency equipment.

Bauer remembers his first day in the emergency room as a physician assistant student.

“The monitors were beeping, the lights were flashing, and the nurse was yelling at me to turn off the monitor, silence the IV pump, and move the patient’s bed from one room to another,” he said. “This was a surreal experience for me because I knew the medicine, but I didn’t know the mechanics of the room.”

He learned quickly and enjoyed a successful rotation in emergency medicine.

“After that experience, I thought about the opportunity students would have if they had greater access in the laboratory to real-world medical equipment that they would later use during their clinical practice,” he said.

“Now, students will be better prepared to enter their clinical year due to the newly renovated space with similar equipment they will use in hospitals and offices,” said Katherine A. Blankenhorn, who has combined bachelor’s/master’s degrees, received her doctorate in physician assistant degree from the college in August and plans to begin work as a certified physician assistant at UPMC Primary Care on Pine Street in Williamsport in November. “Although it is very simple, knowing how to operate beds in the emergency room and being familiar with the laparoscopic instruments specific to the surgical setting will ensure that students feel comfortable and confident entering their clinical year.”

“The net effect will be a better student experience, a better teacher experience, better clinically trained graduates, and a better trained adjunct staff for our affiliates,” Bauer said.

Penn College offers a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. According to the American Academy of Physician Associates, the physician assistant profession is one of the fastest growing professions in the country, and demand is so high that three-quarters of physician assistants receive multiple job offers after graduation. To learn more about the PA program at Penn College, call 570-327-4519 or visit

To learn more about partnering with Penn College to meet your workforce needs, contact College Relations at 570-320-8020 or

For information about Penn College, the national leader in applied technology education, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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