All candidates for the Physician Assistant program must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, equilibrium and taste. Their exteroceptive (touch, pain, temperature) and proprioceptive (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to enable them to carry out all activities required for a complete PA education. Candidates must have motor function capabilities to meet the demands of PA education and the demands of total patient care.
The candidate for the PA certificate must possess the following abilities and skills:
- The ability to observe is required for demonstrations, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory evidence and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states.
- A candidate must be able to observe patients accurately and completely, both at a distance and closely. This ability requires functional vision, hearing and somatic sensation.
- A candidate should be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity and posture.
- The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families including not only speech but reading and writing.
- Communication in oral, written, and electronic form with the health care team must be effective and efficient.
- A candidate should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation and percussion, as well as carry out diagnostic maneuvers.
- A candidate should have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and sensation.
- A candidate should be able to manipulate equipment and instruments to perform basic laboratory tests and procedures required to attain curricular goals (e.g. needles, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, tongue blades, intravenous equipment, gynecologic speculum, and scalpel).
- A candidate must be able to transport themselves from one location to another in a timely fashion in order to facilitate patient care responsibilities and to receive educational training.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
- Problem solving is a critical skill demanded of PAs and this requires all these abilities.
- The candidate must also be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and the spatial relationships of structures.
- A candidate must be able to collect, organize, prioritize, analyze and assimilate large amounts of technically detailed and complex information within a limited time frame. This information will be presented in a variety of educational settings, including lectures, small group discussions, and individual clinical settings. The candidate should be able to analyze, integrate, and apply this information appropriately for problem solving and decision-making.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
- A candidate must have the emotional health to fully use his/her intellectual ability, exercise good judgment, and complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.
- A candidate must be able to develop mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and colleagues.
- A candidate must be able to tolerate physical, mental, and emotional stress in training and continue to function effectively.
- A candidate must possess qualities of adaptability, flexibility and be able to function in the face of uncertainty. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and a consciousness of social values.
- A candidate must possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems.
- A candidate must be able to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.
In the first phase of the program, all PA students are required to attend all classes and educational sessions, master physical examination skills, complete all surgery laboratory exercises, attend assigned patient interactions and complete BLS and ACLS. In the clinical year, students must successfully complete all assigned rotations which may include extended hours of instruction, evenings, nights and weekends. Students must be able to transport themselves to all training sites. It is the responsibility of each applicant to affirm that they meet these technical standards upon entrance to the Physician Assistant Program. During enrollment, the program’s Committee on Progression will monitor students for continuing compliance with technical standards. The faculty of the Physician Assistant Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for the PA certificate who have the knowledge and skills to function in a wide variety of clinical situations and to render a broad spectrum of patient care.