Technical Standards

The PA program is a complex and intensive course of study. It places demands on students that closely resemble the physical and intellectual challenges graduates of the program will encounter as a practicing PA.  The program and curriculum is designed to prepare students to enter the profession with the skills, ability and knowledge necessary to perform the duties and functions that is expected of entry level physician assistants. Students are to become familiar with the essential functions and their associated technical standards and determine whether or not they are able to perform the specified tasks.

The technical standards are the skills and knowledge a student must possess prior to entry to the program to ensure that the physician assistant program graduate is prepared for entry into the practice of medicine. The graduate must have the skills and knowledge to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. It is essential for good patient care to require minimum standards for the education of the physician assistant.

The student in the PA education program must affirm that they possess the ability, aptitude and skills in the following areas:

  1. Observation: The student must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory evidence and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms, and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A student should be able to observe a patient accurately and completely at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use the sense of vision and somatic sensation and is enhanced by a sense of smell.
  2. Communication: A student should be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive non-verbal communication, describe changes in mood, activity and posture. A  student should be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. Communication in oral and written form with the health care team must be effective and efficient.
  3. Motor: Students should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients through palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student should be able to carry out basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, wet mount, gram stain, etc.) carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures ( phlebotomy, venipuncture, placement of catheters and tubes), and read ECG’s and X-rays. A student should have motor function sufficient to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment for patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of a physician assistant are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medications, the application of pressure to arrest bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  4. Intellectual: Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of PA’s requires all these abilities. The  student must also be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: A student should possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good 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. Students should be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, and to function effectively under stress. They should 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. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the Admission and education processes.

In accordance with University policy and as delineated by Federal and California law, the University does not discriminate in admission, educational programs or employment against any individual on the basis of that individual’s handicap or disability and will make good faith efforts at providing reasonable accommodation as required.

Students with disabilities, who need reasonable modifications, special assistance, or accommodations in the program, should direct their request to the Program Director or Academic Coordinator at the time of the program orientation. Students must register with the Services for Students with Disabilities office and provide documentation of their disability in order to receive services. If a student with a disability feels that modifications, special assistance, or accommodations offered by the program are insufficient, that student should seek the assistance of Accessibility Services in person at 2215 E Street, La Verne, CA 91750 or online.