Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Physician Assistants 

A candidate for the entry level Masters degree in Physician Assistant Practice must possess abilities and skills which include those that are observational, communicational, motor, intellectual-conceptual (integrative and quantitative), and behavioral and social. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable in many clinical situations in that it implies that a candidate's judgment must be mediated by someone else's power of selection and observation.

I. Observation:
The candidate must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic sciences. Furthermore, a candidate must be able to:

  • observe a patient accurately, at a distance, and close at hand, with or without standard medical instrumentation, to acquire information from written documents, and to visualize information as presented in images from paper, films, slides or video.
  • interpret x-ray and other graphic images, and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomenon (such as EKGs) with or without the use of assistive devices.

Such observation and information acquisition necessitates the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. In any case where a candidate's ability to observe or acquire information through these sensory modalities is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate alternate means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information conveyed in this fashion. If the alternatives are acceptable, it is expected that obtaining and using such alternate means and/or abilities shall be the responsibility of the student. Costs of necessary accommodations should be reasonable and will be properly borne by the University when not the responsibility of the student or otherwise funded.   

II. Communication: 
A candidate must be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients by sight in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and their families. Communication includes speech and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of their health care team.  

III. Motor: 
It is required that a candidate possess the motor skills necessary to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers, basic laboratory tests and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The candidate must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, application of pressure to control bleeding, suturing of wounds and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.  

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual (Integrative and Quantitative) Abilities:
The candidate must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize. In addition, the candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. The candidate must be able to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion.  

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes:
The candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. The candidate must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. He/she must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process. 

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