MSPAS Technical Standards

We have developed a set of technical standards that identify the requirements for admission, retention, and graduation of all applicants and students.

Every applicant who seeks admission to our Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies Program is expected to possess those intellectual, ethical, physical, and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and achieve the levels of competence required by the program and entry into the PA profession. Each candidate for the MSPAS degree must be able to integrate all information received, perform as a member of a physician-PA team, and demonstrate the ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize information and data within a reasonable time frame.

These technical standards identify the requirements for admission, retention, and graduation of applicants and students. We will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for physically challenged students; however, in doing so, the program must maintain the integrity of its curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the acquisition of knowledge in all areas of medicine, including the demonstration of basic skills requisite for the practice of medicine. Completion of this program requires that each student independently demonstrate these capabilities. Surrogates cannot be used to accomplish the essential requirements. Individuals may not have undue dependence on technology or trained intermediaries in order to perform basic clinical skills required for the PA profession. Graduates are expected to be qualified to enter into all fields of medicine. Each Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies Program candidate shall be required to attest to his/her ability to meet these technical standards at matriculation and throughout the program. Failure to notify the Program Director of any significant health changes that may affect patient care or the ability to meet Program Technical Standards may result in dismissal from the program.  Accordingly, the program requires each individual to meet the following technical requirements:

  1. Communication: The individual must be able to speak, hear, and observe in order to elicit information, examine patients, perceive non-verbal communication, and describe observed abnormalities. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing.  Individuals must also be able to communicate effectively, succinctly, and efficiently in the oral and written form with university personnel, peers, patients, family members and all members of the health care team. Finally, the individual must be capable of responsive, empathetic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.
  2. Motor Function and Mobility: The individual must have sufficient strength and coordination to perform the activities required of a physician assistant. These include performing a physical examination involving techniques in palpation and percussion and utilizing diagnostic instruments. The individual must have sufficient stamina to sit, stand, and move within the classroom, laboratory, examination rooms, treatment rooms, and operating rooms for extended periods of time. The individual must have sufficient coordination to move about patient care environments and sufficient dexterity to use common medical instruments. The individual must have sufficient motor function and be able to execute movements required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment required for physician assistants are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, and suturing of simple wounds. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  3. Sensory: The individual must possess sufficient visual, auditory, and tactile sensation to receive appropriate information in the classroom, laboratory, clinical, and other education settings. Sensation must be sufficient to receive verbal and nonverbal information while interviewing patients, and to perceive signs of disease identified through patient evaluation involving inspection, percussion, palpation, and auditory information at various frequencies (i.e., patient voice, heart tones, bowel and lung sounds). All of these are essential for the evaluation and treatment of the patient.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: The individual must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master curriculum content in a timely manner. The individual must also have the cognitive abilities to be able to immediately process and assess all clinical information provided, even in distracting settings, to allow for appropriate patient evaluation and care. These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, analyze, and synthesize material. The individual must be able to discern and comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships of structures and to develop reasoning and decision-making skills. Within a reasonable time frame, the individual must be able to:
    • Independently access and interpret medical data

    • Identify significant findings from history, physical examination and laboratory data

    • Provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and recommend treatment regimens

    • Recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner

    • Seek consultation from supervising providers appropriately

  5. Behavioral and Social Abilities: The individual must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility, and tolerance. The individual must possess the emotional health required for the following tasks:
    • Full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities
    • Exercise of good judgment
    • Prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients
    • Development of mature, sensitive relationships with patients and co-workers
    • The individual must also be able to:
      • Tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads
      • Adapt to changing environments and display flexibility
      • Prioritize competing demands
      • Understand the basis and content of medical ethics
      • Work effectively as a team member
      • Accept constructive feedback and adopt appropriate modifications
      • Recognize limitations in knowledge, skills, and abilities and seek appropriate assistance with identified limitations
      • Learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in medicine