WCU Student Spotlight: Alexandra A.

A part of the first Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) cohort at WCU-Texas, Alexandra A. wants to help rural communities get the healthcare they need by advocating and educating as a physician assistant.

As a child, Arnold had to travel 45 minutes after suffering a foot injury when her leg became stuck between two rocks while walking along a lake near her home.

“By the time we got to the hospital, it was all hands-on deck,” she said. “I had lost so much blood, and there was nothing my parents could’ve done because that was our closest hospital.”

Looking back, Arnold realized the level of care needed to treat her injury would have been much lower if she had closer access to healthcare.

“We can have all these physicians, but if we need them in larger areas focusing on the high scale stuff,” Arnold said. “We need those physician assistants who can focus on the rural stuff.”

Arnold is looking forward to putting her skills to practice and making a difference for her patients and the community she serves.

“You can make an impact at different levels by advocating and educating people to equip themselves to embrace their health and not rely on others,” she said.  

Arnold began the WCU’s MPA program in January 2022.

“I solely moved to Texas from Virginia for West Coast University,” she said. “Upon walking in, it was just seeing the welcomeness of the whole faculty and staff and the school in general. As well as the innovation of using halo lenses, anatomage and other resources that apply to whatever type of learner you are.”

She and her cohort are working towards their goal of graduating, and every day they are forging a new trail for the next cohort to follow.

“Their path is going to be easier, but at the same time, we are putting our stamp in, not only the profession but also the school,” Arnold said.  

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the West Coast University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by West Coast University. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation. Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-west-coast-university/ To become a certified PA (PA-C), one must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). In addition, students must obtain state medical board registration/licensure. The licensure requirements will vary from state to state. A PA may not begin working as a Physician Assistant in most states until he/she has successfully passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) AND has been licensed/ registered by the state in which they practice. There may be exceptions for certain state licensures or for federal employment, such as the military and Veterans Administration. Failure to complete all necessary steps may constitute practicing medicine without a medical license. Upon graduation, students are responsible for ensuring they obtain all required licenses and certifications. West Coast University is not responsible for registration or licensing; the student is solely responsible for all such requirements and verifying proper authorizations to practice medicine have been obtained.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.