Physician assistant students must conduct themselves in a highly professional manner consistent with the patient care responsibilities they will be entrusted with during their training in the program. Students must adhere to the following standards. Failure to do so will result in a referral to the Academic Progress Committee and may result in disciplinary sanction or dismissal from the program.


Students are expected to treat all staff, faculty, fellow students, patients, and clinical preceptors/staff with dignity and respect. Conflicts should be resolved diplomatically and reasonably. Students should be sensitive and tolerant concerning diversity in the student and patient population.

Physician assistant training involves a close working environment with other students and includes a physical examination of fellow students and discussion groups that may reveal information of a personal nature. These situations must be approached with respect for privacy, confidentiality, and the feelings of fellow students. The program will not tolerate incivility by any member of the PA community, including but not limited to rude, sarcastic, obscene, disruptive, or disrespectful remarks or behavior, verbal or physical threats, or property damage.

Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program expects the PA students to reflect respect:

  • Being sensitive/responsive to the needs of others.
  • Being sensitive/responsive to culture, age, gender, and disabilities of others.
  • Placing others’ interests before their own.
  • Assisting/comforting others
  • Being punctual to required activities.
  • Attending required activities.
  • Being reliable, dependable, complete tasks promptly.
  • Accepting appropriate share of teamwork.
  • Being self-motivated, organized, and prepared.
  • Being accountable to patients, society, and the profession.


Physician assistant training involves instruction from practicing clinicians with unpredictable schedules. At times lectures or other academic sessions may need to be adjusted with short notice. We believe the advantages of utilizing practicing clinicians outweigh this inconvenience and expect that our students will be flexible and tolerant of changes. Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program expects the PA students to reflect flexibility by adapting well to stressful/changing circumstances


Students are expected to behave in a responsible, reliable, and dependable manner. The student must project a professional image in mannerisms, attire, grooming, speech, and interpersonal relationships consistent with being a medical professional. The student should recognize his/her limitations and biases, whether they are intellectual, physical, or emotional, and strive to correct them.

The student must demonstrate the professional and emotional maturity to manage tensions and conflicts and should seek professional help when necessary. Success in the physician assistant profession requires specific behavioral attributes, including empathy, discipline, honesty and integrity, the ability to work effectively with others in a team environment and address a crisis or emergency in a composed manner.

Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program expects the PA students to reflect professionalism by:

  • Being respectful, cooperative (team player), building an atmosphere conducive to learning.
  • Acknowledging/valuing diversity, talents, skills, contributions of others.
  • Communicating effectively (verbal and written).
  • Possessing excellent interpersonal skills to develop appropriate professional relationships with peers, faculty, physician supervisors, and other health care providers.
  • Recognizing/maintaining appropriate boundaries.
  • Displaying tact and self-control in all circumstances.

“Professionalism is the expression of positive values and ideals in the delivery of care. Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one’s own. Physician assistants must know their professional and personal limitations. Professionalism also requires that PAs practice without impairment from substance abuse, cognitive deficiency, or mental illness. Physician assistants must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.” (Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession, a joint statement of the NCCPA, ARC-PA, PAEA, and AAPA).

When a student accepts admission into the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Gardner-Webb University, the student agrees to conduct reflecting adherence to the ethical standards outlined in the AAPA policy, American Academy of Physician Assistant’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct. Additionally, students are expected to adhere to the University and the PA Studies Program’s ethical and professional expectations.


Integrity is the quality of consistency and steadfast adherence to a defined code of ethics. It includes honesty and soundness of mind and body. Students are expected to demonstrate integrity by following all policies in the GWU Gayle-Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies Student Handbook, including those of academic dishonesty and unethical behavior. Physician assistant students are also expected to display the highest ethical standards commensurate with work as a health care professional, as outlined within the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct previously mentioned.

Gardner-Webb University Department of PA Studies Program expects the PA students to reflect integrity by:

  • Accurately portraying personal qualifications.
  • Displaying professional attire and appropriate personal hygiene.
  • Performing per regulatory and legal requirements, as well as the appropriate role of the physician assistant.
  • Being committed to ethical principles about provision or withholding of clinical care, the confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices.
  • Recognizing limitations and seeking, accepting, and incorporating constructive feedback.
  • Behaving honestly.
  • Behaving trustworthy.