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NMCCL Stories

News | March 9, 2022

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune graduates inaugural Physician Assistant class

By Riley Eversull

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune graduated the inaugural class of physician assistant students on March 4, 2022 during a combined graduation and commissioning ceremony.

Eight officer candidates graduated from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program. IPAP is a two-year-long program comprised of two phases, the second of which took place for the first time at NMCCL over the past 13 months with “Class 19-3” being the first graduating IPAP class on the East Coast. Throughout the course of Phase II, the PA students logged more than 1,300 patient encounters and assisted with more than 300 procedures each.

“We were able to forge good relationships with our preceptors- the medical officers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners- we worked with during rotations. We were able to see trauma care firsthand, and we worked alongside surgeons in the operating rooms who were very open to teaching us,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Megan Doll, a recent IPAP graduate.

Students rotated through 17 different clinical settings from family medicine to surgery. The eventual PAs were able to work with pediatric and geriatric patients in a variety of clinic settings. The IPAP Phase II coordinator believes the knowledge students gained is both tangible and intangible.

“The tangibles are clinical knowledge and practical application to the science principles they learned in Phase I. These led to passing the National Certification Exam,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. David Bennett. “The intangibles are learning how to become a naval officer and leader – some of those lessons are only captured through experience and time.”

Immediately following presentation of certificates, officer candidates were sworn in as the newest members of the Navy Medical Service Corps. Following graduation and commissioning, the newly-minted officers will go on to serve as PA’s at both Marine and Navy commands.

According to Doll, Class 19-3 is ready for next challenge. “IPAP really is designed to make outstanding PA’s. I feel I am ready and empowered to go out and be a good PA based on the education IPAP provided.”

NMCCL was originally chosen as a pilot site for Phase II. Due to the success of the program, the Navy has chosen NMCCL to be a permanent training site for IPAP.

“Find someone who has completed this journey and seek them out as a mentor and advisor. The reward is very much worth the work and time to get to the end,” Bennett said.

Through a partnership with the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, each graduate received a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree through the University of Nebraska. Lt. j.g. Maxwell Hargrove was recognized as the class honor graduate for NMCCL.

To read more about the IPAP Phase II evolution at NMCCL, follow this link:
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