Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Admission and Retention

The Master of Physician Assistant Science Program at the University of Evansville is a complex and intensive course of study. It places specific demands on students that closely resemble the physical and intellectual challenges graduates of the program will encounter as a practicing physician assistant (PA). The program has been designed to prepare students to enter the profession with the ability, knowledge, and skills necessary to perform successfully all of the essential functions expected of entry-level physician assistants. Students are to familiarize themselves with these essential functions and their associated technical standards and determine whether or not they are able to perform the specified tasks.

Two students in the lab with papers

In accordance with applicable state and federal laws regarding people who have disabilities and our program's philosophy, we are committed to making reasonable accommodations. In the event that a student determines he or she cannot meet a technical standard due to a disability, either upon admission to the program or at any point thereafter, it is the responsibility of the student to notify the Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Science and the Office of Disability Services and to request a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation is a strategy, agreed upon by the student and the University, which enables the student to meet a technical standard. The faculty and student will work together, within the context of the agreed upon strategy, to provide the student with the opportunity to meet the technical standard. The presence of a disability will not exempt students from completing required tasks and a reasonable accommodation will not guarantee that a student will be successful in meeting the requirements of any one course. Should a student be unable to meet a technical standard or course requirement after a reasonable accommodation has been made, the offer of admission or status in the program will be withdrawn.

The technical standards domains are:

  1. Affective/behavioral skills
  2. Cognitive skills
  3. Communication skills
  4. Observation skills
  5. Physical and emotional health
  6. Psychomotor skills

The student must be able to meet the following technical standards:

  1. Affective and behavioral skills – use of social and professional skills to demonstrate

    • Appreciation and respect for individual, social, and cultural differences in fellow students, professional colleagues, patients, and caregivers.
    • Appreciation that personal values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and experiences affect perceptions and relationships with others.
    • Appropriate behaviors and attitudes to protect the safety and well-being of patients, self, and classmates.
    • Ability to appropriately respond to physically, emotionally, or intellectually stressful situations which must be handled swiftly and calmly.
    • Ability to adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in an academic or clinical environment.
    • Possession of attributes of accountability, altruism, compassion and caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, social responsibility, flexibility, empathy and self-motivation.
    • Ability to accept constructive feedback and modify behaviors as necessary.
    • Ability to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, students, faculty, staff, and other professionals in academic and clinical environments.
    • Ability to reason morally and practice in an ethical manner.
    • Willingness to learn and abide by professional standards of practice.
    • Ability to be self-reflective.
    • Ability to be assertive and take initiative as appropriate.
    • Ability to function effectively as part of a health care team.
  2. Cognitive skills – possession of sufficient intellectual-conceptual ability that includes the capacity to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in order to make decisions. Includes demonstration of the ability to

    • Comprehend, integrate and synthesize a large body of knowledge in a short period of time.
    • Use knowledge of natural, clinical, and social sciences to apply to care in a clinical setting.
    • Gather appropriate information during patient/client examinations and throughout patient/client management in order to make clinical decisions.
    • Evaluate information and use critical thinking and problem solving to formulate diagnoses, prognoses, and plans of care.
    • Acknowledge limitations of knowledge and/or performance in order to provide safe, effective patient care.
    • Reflect on performance to accurately self-assess strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan to address areas of weakness.
  3. Communication skills - use of verbal (oral and written) and nonverbal abilities to

    • Express own ideas and feelings clearly.
    • Demonstrate willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.
    • Listen actively in order to receive and interpret oral communication.
    • Communicate effectively and sensitively in English with other students, faculty, patients, patients' families, other professionals.
    • Demonstrate interpersonal skills as needed for productive classroom discussion, respectful interaction with classmates and faculty, and development of appropriate patient relationships.
    • Communicate clearly and audibly during interactions with classmates, professors, patients, and members of the health care team.
    • Communicate complex findings in appropriate terms to patients/caregivers and other members of the health care team.
    • Receive, write and interpret written communication in both clinical and academic settings.
    • Read and record observations and plans legibly, efficiently, and accurately in documents such as the patient's record, both handwritten and electronic.
    • Complete written assignments.
    • Establish rapport with patient, caregivers, and colleagues.
    • Observe patients for the purpose of eliciting information, accurately describing changes in facial expression, mood, posture, and other nonverbal communication.
    • Use therapeutic communication such as attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching.
  4. Observation skills – functional use of vision, hearing, and other sensory modes to

    • Observe audiovisual presentations, written materials, laboratory demonstrations and procedures.
    • Effectively perform auscultation/auditory evaluation of patients.
    • Appreciate environmental cues such as phones, paging systems, and verbal communication in a setting with competing ambient noise.
    • Appropriately take a patient's history.
    • Accurately observe a patient's activity and behavior during examinations and interventions.
    • Observe changes in patient status which may require modification of activity or intervention, such as color of skin, breathing regularity, heart rate, skin temperature, muscle tone, and facial expressions.
    • Read information from patient charts, equipment, and diagnostic tests such as EKG and imaging results.
  5. Physical and emotional health – excellent physical and emotional health and maintenance of personal hygiene and appearance as demonstrated by the ability to

    • Avoid offending others with whom one interacts.
    • Respond appropriately to stressful situations in the classroom and clinic.
    • Maintain physical and emotional wellbeing or ability to seek help or further resources when needed.
  6. Psychomotor skills – gross and fine motor skills reflective of the physical capacities required to meet the responsibilities of a physician assistant student in a wide variety of clinical settings. Student should demonstrate the ability to

    • Use gross and fine motor skills to complete patient examination
    • Perform handling and manipulation of objects and instruments for tests and procedures such as suturing, airway management, IV placement, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, and scalpel.
    • Perform a variety of activities for up to 8-12 hours with occasional rest breaks. These activities include the ability to sit and stand for extended periods and to transport self from room to room.
    • Assume and maintain a variety of positions, including but not limited to sitting, standing, squatting, kneeling, reaching, walking, stair climbing.