Technical Standards


Our Physician Assistant Program will consider for admission any applicant who meets academic criteria, and demonstrates the ability to perform or to learn to perform the skills listed in this document, with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights Restoration Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act . Any applicant with questions about these technical requirements is strongly encouraged to discuss the issue with the Division of Enrollment and Student Affairs prior to the interview process.

A student in the Physician Assistant Program must have adequate abilities and skills in the following five areas: 1) Observation; 2) Communication; 3) Sensory and Motor Function; 4) Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Ability; and 5) Behavior and Social Attributes as detailed below.

1. Observation: The student must be able to observe demonstrations and conduct experiments on the basic sciences, including but not limited to chemical, biological, anatomic and physiologic sciences, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. A student must be able to integrate all information visually and through the other senses.

2. Communication: A student must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively and rapidly in English with patients and members of the health care team. A student must be able to elicit information from patients, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity and posture. Communication includes not only speech, but writing, reading, interpreting graphs and computer literacy.

3. Sensory and Motor Function: The student must have sufficient sensory and motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. The student will be required to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of hearing, touch and vision.

More specifically, the student must be able to exercise such fine motor skill as to adequately perform laboratory tests, including but not limited to, wet mount, urinalysis and gram stain. The student must exercise such level of dexterity, sensation and visual acuity as to accurately complete such processes as administering intravenous medication, making fine measurements of angles and size, measuring blood pressure, respiration and pulse, performing physical examinations and performing therapeutic procedures such as suturing and casting.

The student must be able to hear sufficiently to accurately differentiate percussive notes and auscultory findings, including but not limited to heart, lung, and abdominal sounds, as well as discern normal and abnormal findings using instruments such as tuning forks, stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers and Doppler devices.

A student must be able to transport himself or herself in a manner which provides timely response in both general and emergency care situations. Moving patients and engaging in some procedures such as CPR will require a necessary level of strength.

4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities:
A student must have the intellect necessary to quickly analyze and resolve problems. These intellectual abilities include long and short term memory, numerical recognition, measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis judgment and synthesis. The student must be able to identify significant findings from the patient's history, the physical examination and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and choose appropriate medications and therapy.

The ability to incorporate new information from many sources in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic planning is primary. When appropriate, students must be able to identify and communicate the limits of their knowledge to others.

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: A student must posses the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. The development of mature, sensitive effective and professional relationships with patients and members of the health care team is essential. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are desired on a health professional and assessed during the admissions and education process.