Technical Standards

Students admitted to the Gardner-Webb University Physician Assistant Studies Program are selected because they have demonstrated the capacity to complete the entire curriculum in order to attain the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree. The curriculum requires demonstrated abilities in (1) observation, (2) communication, (3) motor, (4) intellectual, and (5) behavioral and social skills. Therefore, all students admitted to the Physician Assistant Studies Program must possess these attributes. If you have any questions regarding these standards or your ability to meet these standards, you should contact the Program Director.

1. Observation: The candidate must be able to:
  • Observe demonstrations, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory evidence and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states;
  • Observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand; and
  • Use the sense of vision, hearing, sensation, and smell as part of the observation process.

2. Communication: A candidate should be able to:
  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families in a culturally competent manner;
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms with all members of the healthcare team;
  • Be able to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and,
  • Utilize speech, reading, writing, and computers as part of the communication process. In addition, candidates must possess the skills necessary to communicate effectively in small and large group discussions.

3. Motor: Candidates must have sufficient motor skills and coordination to:
  • Execute the movement required to provide patient care such as palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers;
  • Execute movements required to provide continuous general care and emergency treatment to patients; these skills require continuous coordination of gross and fine muscle movement, equilibrium, and sensation;
  • Manipulate equipment and instruments without interruption necessary to perform basic laboratory tests and procedures required to attain curricular goals (e.g. needles, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, tongue blades, intravenous equipment, gynecologic speculum, and scalpel); and,
  • Transport instruments and equipment from one location to another in a timely fashion in order to facilitate patient care responsibilities and receive educational training.

4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates must be able to:
  • Comprehend three-dimensional relationships and the spatial relationship of structures;
  • Collect, organize, prioritize, analyze, and assimilate large amounts of technically detailed and complex information within a limited time frame and then present that information in a variety of educational settings, including lectures, small group discussions, and individual clinical settings; and,
  • Analyze, integrate, and apply information appropriately for problem solving and decision-making.

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must have:
  • Emotional health, maturity, sensitivity, intellectual ability, and good judgment needed to complete all responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients;
  • The ability to tolerate physical, mental, and emotional stress associated with training and the profession;
  • Qualities of adaptability, flexibility and be able to function in the face of uncertainty;
  • A high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and a consciousness of social values;
  • Sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively and in a culturally competent manner with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems; and,
  • The ability to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.

Admission decisions are made on the assumption that each candidate can meet the technical standards without consideration of disability. Candidates accepted for admission to the Physician Assistant program will be required to verify that they understand and can meet these technical standards and do so continuously and without interruption. Gardner-Webb University, the CoHS and Physician Assistant Studies program complies with all Federal, State and local laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act. The University reserves the right of final determination for applicants requesting accommodations to meet the program’s technical standards. This includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether the accommodation would jeopardize patient safety, or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and supervised clinical practice rotations deemed essential for graduation. The Physician Assistant program will work jointly with the Noel Center for Disability Resources to determine what accommodations are suitable or possible in terms of reasonable accommodation, and will render the person capable of performing all essential functions established by the program. In the event an applicant is unable to independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, fulfill these technical standards prior to or any time after admission, the student will not be permitted to enter or progress within the program.