Enrolled students must have abilities and skills in the areas of observation, communication, sensory and motor coordination and function, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social attributes to navigate the complexities of the didactic and clinical phases of the PA Program curriculum effectively. Each of these technical abilities is further defined below.
Students must be able to observe demonstrations, exercises, patients accurately at a distance and close at hand, and note non-verbal as well as verbal signals.
Students should be able to speak intelligibly, hear sufficiently, elicit and transmit patient information in oral and written English to members of the healthcare team, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. They must possess demonstrated reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients. They must be capable of completing appropriate medical records and documents and plans according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner.
Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function
Students must possess motor skills sufficient to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures. They must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care, such as airway management, placement of catheters, suturing, phlebotomy, application of sufficient pressure to control bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc. Such actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of PAs, requires that students have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Students must be able to independently access and interpret medical histories or files; identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data; provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications and therapy; and recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Students must possess the ability to use their intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis under potentially stressful and/or emergency circumstances. They must also be able to develop empathic, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. They must be able to adapt to changing environments and to learn in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of medicine. Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process. The students must be able to use supervision appropriately and act independently, when indicated.
Students unable to resolve deficiencies in these areas with appropriate accommodation will be counseled to pursue alternate career paths.