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Technical Standards

Essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the Program consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to assure that candidates for matriculation, promotion, and graduation can satisfactorily complete all didactic courses and all aspects of medical training, with or without reasonable accommodation. Delineation of technical standards is required for the accreditation of the Program. Although these standards serve to delineate the necessary physical and mental abilities of all candidates, they are not intended to deter any candidate for whom a reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum. Technological accommodations can be made for some disabilities, but the role of the PA in the delivery of health care necessitates that he/she shall be able to perform independently. 


Observation:  Candidates must be able to observe materials presented in the learning environment including presentations in the lectures and lab, as well as procedural skills and simulation experiences. Observations must be made accurately and completely. This requires the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation. 


Communication:  Candidates must be able to communicate with, hear, and observe patients to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. 


Motor Function:  Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers necessary to complete a full physical exam. They must execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of movements reasonably required include but are not limited to the following: cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); administration of intravenous medication; the application of pressure to stop bleeding; the opening of actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. 


Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates must have sufficient cognitive abilities and effective learning techniques to assimilate the detailed and complex information presented in the curriculum. They must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to the following: classroom instruction; small group, team, and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and use of computer technology. Candidates must be able to memorize, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and transmit information across modalities. They must also demonstrate the ability to comprehend three-dimensional relationships, and to understand spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must perform these problem-solving skills in a timely manner with stressful distractions consistent with the medical environment.  

Behavioral and Social Attributes:  Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective professional relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and 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 assessed during the educational processes.


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