Physician Assistant Studies Technical Standards
The Physician Assistant Program is a rigorous, 30-month curriculum where students acquire the general knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors required for the practice of medicine, regardless of specialty. The program considers it essential for all physician assistant students to have the ability to function in a variety of didactic and clinical situations and to provide a wide spectrum of patient care. Candidates for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant Studies must be able to independently demonstrate the capabilities to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements. As such, the following technical standards have been adopted for admission, promotion and graduation from the program.
Observation includes the ability to perceive, using senses and mental abilities, the presentation of information through lectures, small groups and one-to-one interactions, demonstrations and experiments, and written and audiovisual materials. Observation necessitates the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic senses. A student must be able to directly observe a patient's medical condition through history, physical examination, and interpretation of diagnostic studies. Examples of perceptual abilities include but are not limited to: gross and microscopic studies of organisms, cadaver dissections, and various diagnostic tests such as interpretation of echocardiograms, digital and wavelength readings, and graphic or radiographic images.
A student must be able to communicate effectively with patients, faculty and all members of the health care team. These communication skills require the ability to process all information, including recognition of the significance of non-verbal communications, mood, activity, and posture, with immediate assessment of information provided to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiry. The student must be able to process and communicate information regarding the patient's status accurately and in a timely manner to the physician supervisors and other members of the health care team as well as through appropriate and accurate documentation. Communication includes speech, hearing, reading, writing and computer literacy skills.
A student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers as well as to perform technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery. A student must possess sufficient motor skills to perform laboratory tests such as slide preparation and use of a glucometer. A student must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide routine and emergency care to patients. Examples reasonably required of physician assistants are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, venipuncture, arterial blood draws, application of pressure to stop bleeding, suturing, insertion of nasogastric tubes and urinary catheters, pelvic and rectal examinations, obstetrical maneuvers, and opening of obstructed airways.
D. Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities
A student must be able to solve problems involving measurement; calculation; analyzing, synthesizing and recalling materials; rapid problem solving and rational thought. He/she must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient's history, physical findings and diagnostic studies. Students must be able to use this information to develop a diagnosis and to monitor treatment plans and modalities. In addition, a student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures (e.g., macroscopic and microscopic structures). Overall, the student must be able to demonstrate independent decision-making skills.
E. Behavioral and social attributes
A student must demonstrate full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. He/she must have the capacity for the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. The student must be capable of responsive, empathic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences. Additionally, a student must have an understanding of their own belief systems as well as others and maintain professional and caring behaviors in health care environments where beliefs or practices may be in conflict with his/her own. As a component of medical education, a student must be able to understand the basis and content of medical ethics and demonstrate ethical behavior. A student must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. A student must be able to adapt to a changing environment and display flexibility.
II. Reasonable Accommodation
It is the policy of UT School of Health Professions to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with a disability so they can meet these required technical standards by request.
Request for Accommodations for Disabilities
Information on requesting accommodations for disabilities is available in the UT Health Science Center PA Studies Department Handbook. Students who wish to request accommodations for disabilities should meet with the School of Health Professions Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Dr. David Henzi, to complete a Student/Resident Request for Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act form (Form ADA-100). The form and additional information can be found here.