Program Details


The University of Kentucky PA Academic Cardiac Surgery residency is dedicated to train Physician Assistant graduates in the field of surgery to provide exceptional healthcare to the surgical patient.


  • To educate and prepare recent PA graduates for transition into surgical practice
  • Meeting the healthcare needs for surgical care in the community
  • Changing how PAs are educated in the ever changing healthcare delivery system from a physician training on the job for a new graduate in a surgical field, to now meeting the demands of employers (hospitals) to be ready to practice at a higher level of competency


  • Readiness to start working at a higher level of competency
  • Competitive advantage in employment
  • Meeting the need for sub-specialize care in hospital industry

Program Goals

  • To prepare the physician assistant (PA) to deliver healthcare in the field of surgery that is beyond the newly graduate level to an advance level of knowledge and skills
  • Educate competent surgical physician assistant to function at a higher level than a generalist PA
  • The education of the physician assistant for the practice of surgery encompasses education in basic science, training in cognitive and technical skills, development of clinical knowledge and maturity in the acquisition of surgical judgement


Didactic Curriculum: The didactic curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology of surgical disease processes. 

Instruction will cover surgery and subspecialty topics.  Emphasis will be placed on the perioperative management of surgical patients, including fluids and electrolytes, hyperalimentation, acid/base balance, surgical emergencies, complications, and evaluation of specific organ systems.

The didactic material will be covered by traditional lectures, surgical grand rounds, morbidity and mortality, surgical conferences of different types, and other symposiums.

Online (modules) study of different medical topics.

  • Pre & Post op evaluation
  • Sepsis
  • Wound healing
  • Shock
  • Ventilatory support
  • Circulation physiology
  • Drugs & Devices to support cardiogenic shock
  • Surgical nutrition
  • Fluid & Electrolytes
  • Acid/base balance
  • Coagulation, bleeding & hemostasis
  • Other surgical topics

Clinical: The PA Surgical Resident will do history taking and physical examinations, writing patient orders and progress notes in the EMR of the hospital, responding to and evaluating patient problems, making rounds, ordering diagnostic studies and labs, assisting in the operating room, and performing invasive procedures with appropriate oversight by the supervising physician.  Night call and shift work will be week day and weekends.  Schedule will be determined by the service that the PA resident is on.

  • Simulation Lab (in person or videos)
  • Rotations in:
    • Cardiac Surgery
    • Open Heart Recovery (Cardiovascular ICU)
    • Cardiac Step-down Unit
    • Outpatient clinic
    • Thoracic Surgery
    • Vascular Surgery

Program Objectives

  • Medical Knowledge:
    • Cardiac Disorders
    • Pulmonary Disorders
    • Respiratory Failure (Ventilatory-Associated Events)
    • Nutritional support
    • Shock/Resuscitation
    • Vascular Disorders
    • Infectious Diseases
  • Patient care:
    • Pre, intra operative, and Post Surgery
    • Respiratory Failure
    • Nutritional support
    • Shock/Resuscitation
    • Cardiac conditions
    • Pulmonary conditions
    • Vascular conditions
    • Procedural Competencies
  • Systems-Based Practice
    • Administrative Responsibility
    • Coordination and Transitions of Care
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
    • Improvement of Care
    • Teaching
    • Self-Directed Learning
  • Professionalism:
    • Professionalism and Personal Behavior
    • Ethical Issues in Critically-ill Patients
    • Personal Responsibility
    • Healthy Work Environment
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills:
    • Effective Communication with Patients and Families
    • Effective communication with the Healthcare Team

Rotation of Services Schedule: each one month

  • Orientation at UK and Baptist Healthcare, Cardiac Surgery rotation
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Outpatient clinic
  • Open Heart Recovery (Cardiovascular ICU)
  • Cardiac Step-down Unit
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Out patient clinic (this can be woven in with the other services instead of on month)
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Consulting (days/nights)
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Elective (In any of the above areas of surgery or another area (ie: General Surgery)

12 months Total

Throughout these six areas of focus the PA resident with gain experience in the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative care of cardiac surgery patients. He/she will have opportunities to assist in the Operating Room, see consults, care for pre-op and post-op cardiac surgery patients in the ICU and step-down units, and follow patients in the outpatient and aortic clinics. 


  • Insertion & removal of arterial lines
  • Insertion & removal of central lines
  • Harvesting veins and arteries
  • Open and Endoscopic harvesting of saphenous veins
  • Intubation
  • Insertion & removal of chest tubes
  • Surgical closures
  • First assistant in the operating room
  • Removal of intra-aortic balloon pumps
  • Removal of epicardial pacing wires
  • Insertion of Swan Ganz catheters


  1. Surgery Conference
  2. Grand Rounds
  3. Morbidity and Mortality
  4. Other weekly, or special case conferences at Baptist Hospital - Louisville and UK as scheduled
  5. Recommend one State/Regional or National conference