Physician Assistant Technical Standards Requirements


Students admitted to the Gardner-Webb University Department of Physician Assistant Studies are selected because they have demonstrated the potential to complete the entire curriculum 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. These standards are essential prerequisites for entrance, continuation, and graduation from the Program. (Standard A3.13e) It is the applicant’s responsibility to affirm that they meet these technical standards upon entrance to the PA Program. Therefore, if a student has any questions regarding these standards or their ability to meet these standards, the student should contact the program director.

List of Standards

  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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 to facilitate patient care responsibilities and receive educational training.
  • 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.
  • Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must have:
    • Emotional health, maturity, sensitivity, intellectual ability, and sound 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 behavior modification(s).