College of Health Sciences

Physician Assistant Program

Technical Standards

The technical standards for admission establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to have in order to achieve the knowledge, skills and levels of competency stipulated for graduation by the faculty and expected of the professional program by its accrediting agency (ARC-PA, Inc.).

  • All students admitted to the PA program are expected to demonstrate the attributes and meet the expectations listed below
  • These Technical Standards are required for admission and must be maintained throughout a student’s progress through the Physician Assistant Program
  • In the event that, during training, a student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, then the student may be asked to leave the program

Required technical standards are:

Observation - Students must be able to:

  • observe demonstrations, exercises, patients accurately at a distance and close at hand
  • note non-verbal as well as verbal signals.

Communication - Students should be able to:

  • speak intelligibly
  • hear sufficiently
  • elicit and transmit patient information in oral and written English to members of the healthcare team
  • describe changes in mood, activity and posture
  • communicate effectively and sensitively with patients.
  • possess demonstrated reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients
  • be capable of completing appropriate medical records and documents and plans according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner

Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function - Students must:

  • possess motor skills sufficient to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures
  • be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care, such as airway management, placement of catheters, suturing, phlebotomy, application of sufficient pressure to control bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc. (Such actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision)

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of Physician Assistants, requires that students have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Students must:

  • be able to independently access and interpret medical histories or files
  • identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data
  • provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications and therapy
  • recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner

The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential.

Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential.

Behavioral and Social Attributes - Students must:

  • possess the ability to use their intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis under potentially stressful and/or emergency circumstances
  • be able to develop empathic, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients
  • be able to adapt to changing environments and to learn in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of medicine
  • be able to use supervision appropriately and act independently, when indicated.

Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process.

Candidates for admission to the Physician Assistant Program who are accepted for admission will be required to verify that they understand and meet these technical standards. Admission decisions are made on the assumption that each candidate can meet the technical standards without consideration of disability.

Letters of admission will be offered contingent on either a signed statement from the applicant that she/he can meet the program's technical standards without accommodation, or a signed statement from the applicant that she/he believes she/he can meet the technical standards if reasonable accommodation is provided.

If an applicant states she/he can meet the technical standards with accommodation, then the College will determine whether it agrees that the student can meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodation. This includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether the accommodation would jeopardize patient safety, or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internships deemed essential to graduation.

The Center for Personal and Professional Development and the Physician Assistant Program will jointly determine what accommodations are suitable or possible in terms of reasonable accommodation, and will render the person capable of performing all essential functions established by the program.