Technical Standards

Program Specific Technical Standards


    As a clinical health science student who will be interacting with patients throughout the didactic and clinical phases of the program, the student is expected to possess functional use of their senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell such that data received by the senses may be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. A student must also possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration, equilibrium, and movement.
    Given the extreme importance of observational data in patient evaluation, the student must have sufficient capacity to effectively and accurately observe and participate in the lecture and small group classroom sessions, laboratory sessions, and patient interactions at both far and near distances, including non-verbal and verbal signals. Inherent in the observational process is the use of the senses to elicit information through procedures regularly required in physical examination, such as inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation.
    Given the extreme importance of effective interpersonal communication with patients and colleagues, the student must communicate effectively verbally and non-verbally to elicit and transmit information; describe changes in mood, activity, posture; and perceive non-verbal communications from patients and others. Each student must have the ability to effectively and accurately read and write, and comprehend and speak the English language to facilitate communication with patients, their family members, and other professionals in health care settings where written medical records, verbal presentations, and patient counseling and education are integral to effective medical practice and patient care. The student must communicate effectively verbally and in writing with instructors and other students in the classroom setting, as well.
    The student must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination needed to perform complete physical examinations utilizing the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student must develop the psychomotor skills reasonably needed to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, management and operation of diagnostic and therapeutic medical equipment utilized in the general and emergent care of patients required in practice as a physician assistant. The student must be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium; have sufficient levels of postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to-hand coordination; and to possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving, and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in the clinical, laboratory and classroom settings.
    The student must be able to develop and refine problem-solving skills that are crucial to practice as a physician assistant. Problem-solving involves the abilities to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures; to measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize objective and subjective data; and to make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and sound clinical judgment. A student must have the capacity to read, comprehend and appropriately and effectively apply information from written and electronic medical science literature and resources. Each student must demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical science literature and resources to formulate sound judgment in patient assessment and evaluation, and diagnostic and therapeutic planning.
    Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, effective interpersonal skills, and concern for others are personal attributes required of those in physician assistant practice. Personal comfort and acceptance of the role of a dependent practitioner functioning under supervision are essential for training and practice as a physician assistant. The student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of the student’s intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities in the classroom setting, as well as those in the clinical setting attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the healthcare team. Each student must have the emotional stability required to exercise stable, sound judgment and to complete assessment and interventional activities. The ability to establish rapport and maintain sensitive and confidential interpersonal relationships with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds is critical for practice as a physician assistant. The student must be able to tolerate physically and emotionally taxing loads and still function effectively under stress; adapt to changing environments; display flexibility; graciously accept constructive criticism; manage difficult interpersonal relationships during didactic and clinical training; and learn to function cooperatively and efficiently in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical health science training and clinical practice.