Technical Standards

Image of Physician Assistant Studies student in lab.


Technical standards for admission to the USA Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program and completion of the Master of Health Science Degree (MHS) are listed below.

▼   General Abilities

The student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement.

▼   Observational Ability

The student is expected to participate in and observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.

▼   Communication Ability

The student is expected to be able to effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and postures and to perceive nonverbal communications. This requires the ability to read, write, and effectively utilize the English language. The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and other professionals.

▼   Motor Ability

The student is expected to be able to perform gross and fine motor movements required to perform a complete physical examination. The student is expected to have the psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, managing of equipment, and emergency interventions. The student is expected to be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium, and have the physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical experiences. The student should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. The student must be able to do laboratory tests and work with scientific and other instruments and machinery utilized in practice as a Physician Assistant.

▼   Critical Thinking Ability

The student is expected to have the ability to develop and refine problem-solving skills. This includes the ability to measure, calculate, analyze and synthesize objective as well as subjective data and make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and clinical judgment. In addition, the student should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

▼   Interpersonal Abilities

The student is expected to have the emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment, complete assessment and intervention activities. The student is expected to establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds. The student is expected to have the flexibility to function effectively under stress. Concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities.

▼   Behavioral and Social Attributes

A student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or 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 student must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The student 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 many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and education process.

▼   Competencies for Physician Assistant Profession

Graduates of the PA Program are expected to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, be able to provide excellent comprehensive patient care and have the highest level of medical knowledge and communication skills as outlined by the Competencies for Physician Assistant Profession.