Physician assistants must have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to render a wide spectrum of patient care services in a broad variety of clinical situations. Consequently, it is essential that in its admission process, the Physician Assistant Program assesses an applicant’s physical and emotional capabilities as well as his/her scholastic accomplishments and academic potential in order to assure that the applicant can meet the full demands of the Program’s curriculum and graduate as a skilled and effective healthcare provider. In making this assessment, the Program must consider the applicant’s current physical and emotional status, any cumulative or progressive disability, and any drug-induced impairment that may pose obstacles to the safe application of his/her knowledge and skills to the provision of quality care or prevent effective interaction with patients.
Applicants will be reviewed individually in this regard on a case-by-case basis. No otherwise qualified individual with a handicap will be automatically excluded from admission.
Students are expected to meet the technical standards throughout their enrollment. Any student found in violation of the Technical Standards at any time is at risk for dismissal from the program. As such, PA students must continually demonstrate skills and abilities in the following areas prior to, and throughout enrollment:
- Observation: Students must be able to demonstrate sufficient capacity to observe demonstrations and experiments in basic and clinical sciences (including computer-assisted instruction), and must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance or close at hand.
- Communication: Students must be able to demonstrate sufficient capacity to communicate accurately and with clarity, in oral and written forms, with appropriate respect and sensitivity towards faculty, patients, and all members of the healthcare team.
- Motor: Students must have sufficient fine and gross motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. They must be able to grasp and manipulate tools and equipment using proper technique and stand, sit, walk and move as needed in a patient care setting.
- Senses: Students must have sufficient use of the senses of vision, hearing, touch, and smell necessary to directly perform a physical examination.
- Problem solving: Students must demonstrate sufficient ability to learn to measure, calculate, analyze, and synthesize data to reach diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical judgments.
- Clinical skills: Students must demonstrate sufficient ability to learn and perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical procedures. All students will be expected to perform physical examinations on both males and females.
- Behavioral attributes: Students must possess the emotional health necessary for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with faculty, clinical staff and patients.
- Judgment: Students must be able to learn and demonstrate the ability to recognize limitations to their knowledge, skills and abilities, and to seek appropriate assistance with their identified limitations.
- Stability: Students must be able to learn to respond with precise, efficient, and appropriate action in emergency situations.
- Perseverance: Students are expected to possess the humility to accept criticism, and the diligence to successfully complete the physician assistant curriculum and enter the practice of medicine as a certified physician assistant.
- Cognition: The physician assistant program is a concentrated and fast-paced program. In addition, physician assistants must often make critical decisions when evaluating patients and must make these decisions in a timely manner. Students must be able to assimilate large amounts of information quickly and efficiently, as well as gather and analyze patient data in a timely manner. Health conditions and/or drugs (prescription, over the counter or "recreational") that alter perceptions, slow responses, or impair judgment are not compatible with success in the program. These may also affect the student's ability to obtain a license or to practice as a physician assistant.
- Capability: Physician Assistants work in a variety of clinical settings and may be required to stand for extended periods of time, assist in major surgery, hold retractors, place invasive devices, assist in labor and delivery, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, perform minor surgical procedures, or help move patients. Therefore, students must demonstrate sufficient capability to function safely, effectively, and efficiently in a classroom, laboratory, or clinical facility without any of the following: a surrogate, intermediate, companion (animal or human), translator, or assistive device that would interfere with or not be usable in a surgical or other patient care setting
The students’ compliance with standards, policies, and practices set forth in the PA Handbook and Code of Ethics of the Physician Assistant Profession is both critical and mandatory. The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, adaptability, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and concern for others are all characteristics demanded of the PA.
Students will acknowledge understanding of the Technical Standards by signing the Technical Standards Student Attestation upon matriculation into the program.