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Technical Standards

Applicants must possess certain skills in order to master the educational content of the Physician Assistant Program at an acceptable level of performance within the time frames both provided in the curriculum and required for professional competence. These skills are needed to improve or maintain patient health by preventing and/or alleviating deformity and improving independence of function; to achieve treatment goals that engage the greatest possible degree of patient motivation and cooperation within resource constraints; and to provide for periodic revision and appropriate discontinuation. This regimen should be appropriate to the patient¿s progress and physical and psychosocial status.

The director of the Physician Assistant Program welcomes questions or inquiries from individuals with disabilities regarding the standards and their application to each individual's unique situation. In each case, a determination can be made as to whether the individual is qualified for admission to the program and if reasonable accommodations can be made. While the PA Program is prohibited by federal law from making inquiries about specific disabilities prior to admission, applicants who are selected for admission must be prepared to meet the performance standards in order to complete the program.

Skills fundamental to the Physician Assistant Profession and curriculum include:

  • Problem solving given verbal, visual, and written information within a limited time frame;
  • Clinical reasoning and decision making within a limited time frame;
  • Visual-spatial integration;
  • Insight and judgment for safety and prognostication;
  • Written and verbal communication among group members;
  • Time management to coordinate course requirements and clinical responsibilities.

These skills require that applicants have the abilities to meet technical standards, which have been established for this program. They are:

I. Participate in all phases of the educational program within the required time frame, including the various laboratories, teaching conferences, clinics, and rounds; show understanding of classroom lectures, presentations, seminars, etc., through work performance and/or examination in order to:

A. Learn all of the specific skills and be provided with all of the experiences necessary to successfully complete the Physician Assistant Program and become eligible for certification,
B. Apply basic principles of the scientific method in reading and interpreting professional literature, participating in clinical research activities, and critically analyzing new concepts and findings provided by others,
C. Apply basic educational concepts of theories in designing, implementing, and evaluating treatment regimens, and in educating patients, families, and health care personnel involved in the patient¿s care.

II. Function appropriately in interpersonal relationships by exhibiting use of good judgment, empathy, reliability, and emotional stability; must possess the abilities to practice appropriately in stressful situations and to work acceptably with others in order to:

A. Interact with patients and families in a manner that provides the desired psychosocial support by:

1. Recognizing his or her own reaction to illness and disability,
2. Recognizing patients¿ and families¿ reactions to illness and disability,
3. Respecting individual, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences,
4. Utilizing appropriate communicative processes.

B. Demonstrate safe, ethical, and legal practice as stated by the profession,
C. Engage the greatest possible degree of patient motivation and cooperation in treatment,
D. Function effectively with other health care professionals in providing appropriate patient care and in improving the quality of patient care,
E. Be responsive to ideas and techniques that might be more appropriate or safe.

III. Communicate effectively with patients, their families, and health care professionals in order to:

A. Instruct, confer, and integrate appropriate patient treatment with other aspects of patient care,
B. Stimulate motivation and cooperation in treatment, and assist in the alleviation of anxiety,
C. Give instructions on diet, exercise, and other forms of therapy and uses of physical adjuncts to therapy such as prenatal instructions, childcare instructions, etc.
D. Instruct or explain projected test and/or therapy to the patient.

IV. Function appropriately in professional practice in order to:

A. Review and evaluate patient needs; specify which therapy procedures are indicated by obtaining a thorough medical history, performing a complete physical examination, and reviewing previous medical record(s) in order to:

1. Perform a complete health evaluation of growth and development for the patient,
2. Facilitate appropriate diagnostic study for the patient and prompt management of illness or injury,
3. Provide assistance in performing special studies pertaining to: pelvic examination, Papanicolaou smear, proctoscopy, visual testing, etc.,

B. Plan, prepare, implement, and modify as necessary treatment programs which:

1. Include realistic goals in terms of diagnosis, prognosis, physical/psychosocial status, and anticipated lifestyles of the patient,
2. Include effective treatment methods that provide a high probability of achieving treatment goals,
3. Are within resource constraints,
4. Provide for periodic revision according to changes in the patient¿s physiological or psychological state,
5. Contain specificity and comprehensiveness appropriate to the level of personnel who will execute the plan,
6. Are adequately documented.

C. Properly perform routine laboratory studies, diagnostic tests, therapeutic duties such as drawing blood samples, performing urinalysis and skin testing, giving injections, and suturing,


D. Provide health care services with the direction and responsible supervision of a physician and attend to the needs of many diverse patients,


E. Provide appropriate life support and acute injury evaluation/care until a physician and/or appropriate health professional can be located.