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Technical Standards for Students

In addition to the general Technical Standards for Students in the College of Medicine, each professional program requires additional specific standards. The specific standards for the PA Program are listed below.

Additional Technical Standards for Admissions and Retention in the PA Program

Technical Standards set forth essential functions an applicant must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation to qualify for admission into the Physician Assistant (PA) Program. Modern PA education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of skills and professional attitudes and behavior. Our faculty has the responsibility to graduate the best possible physician assistants; thus, admission to the PA program is offered to those who present the highest qualifications for the study of clinical practice.

Applicants must demonstrate that their senses are sufficiently intact to enable them to perform the activities necessary for PA education and to provide patient care; therefore, candidates for admission to the PA Program must meet the following capabilities and skills: critical thinking, sound judgment, emotional stability and maturity, empathy, physical and mental stamina and the ability to learn and function in a wide variety of educational settings. In all phases of Physician Assistant education, students must use their intellectual ability and must maintain emotional stability, particularly when under stress. Graduates of this Physician Assistant Program must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.

The PA Committee on Admissions maintains that prospective students must meet certain minimum technical standards. Candidates for the Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant degree must have the following essential functions: motor skills; sensory and observational skills; communication skills; conceptual, integrative and quantitative skills; and behavioral and social skills and professionalism.

Motor Skills

Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. Candidates should be able to execute motor functions necessary to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.

Sensory and Observational Skills

Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments as required in the curriculum. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance, as well as, close at hand and be able to obtain a medical history directly from the patient, while observing the patient's medical condition. This observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision, hearing and other sensory modalities.

Communication Skills

Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in oral and written form with patients. These skills must be performed at times in clinical settings when the time available for communication may be limited.

Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Skills

These skills include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem-solving and diagnosis, the critical skills demanded of physicians, require all these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral and Social Skills and Professionalism

Empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions process and throughout physician assistant education. Candidates must possess the emotional well-being required for the full use of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of sound 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. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively when stressed. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainty inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.

In summary, the mission of the Physician Assistant faculty is to prepare students for the comprehensive practice of medicine under supervision of a physician. The UTHSC Committee on Admissions and the College of Medicine, in accordance with Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities ACT [ADA] [Public Law 101-336, has established the aforementioned essential functions of medical students and physicians. The PA Admissions Committee will consider for admission, applicants who demonstrate the ability to perform or learn to perform the essential skills listed in this document. The PA Program must ensure that patients are not placed in jeopardy by the students or physicians with substantially impaired intellectual, physical or emotional functions. Students will be judged not only on their scholastic accomplishments, but also on their physical and emotional capacities to meet the full requirements of the school's curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective practitioners of medicine.

May 26, 2022