Technical Standards for Physician Assistant Program Admissions
Regarding: Abilities and skills required of a candidate for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).
A candidate for the MPAS degree as a Physician Assistant shall have abilities and skills in the areas of observation, communication, motor function, conceptual and analytical thinking, and normative behavioral and social attributes. Technological accommodations can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but the role of the Physician Assistant in the delivery of health care necessitates that he/she shall be able to perform in an independent manner.
- Observation: The candidate shall be able to observe demonstrations in the basic sciences. A candidate shall be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the senses of vision and touch which are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
- Communication: A candidate shall be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate shall be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. Candidates shall be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with members of the health care team.
- Motor function: Candidates shall have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by auscultation, percussion, palpation and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate shall be able to perform basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, phlebotomy, etc.), carry out procedures (intubation, pelvic exams, etc.), and read EKGs and x-rays. A candidate shall be able to execute motor movements required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment required of PAs are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medications, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, suturing wounds, and the performance of obstetrical and surgical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
- Conceptual and analytical thought: These abilities include being able to perceive all manner of sensory stimuli, including verbal, written, visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory. The candidate must be able to synthesize and integrate the aforementioned sensory inputs and apply them to patient care through objective and subjective examinations in a timely manner with stressful distracters consistent with the medical environment.
- Behavioral and social attributes: A candidate shall 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. Candidates shall be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They shall be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the education process.