Master of Physician Assistant Studies technical standards

Technical Standards

Student Compliance with Technical Standards

The Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program at Trine University prepares PAs to serve as healthcare providers in a multitude of medical settings.  This program is a complex and intensive course of study that places specific demands on students that closely resemble the physical and intellectual challenges graduates of the program will encounter as practicing PAs.  In order to function as clinical Physician Assistants, individuals must be able to meet certain physical, emotional, intellectual, and communication expectations for performance. This program is designed to prepare students to be entry-level PAs.

The purpose of technical standards is to delineate the psychomotor, cognitive and affective skills and abilities deemed essential for matriculation into, continuation in and graduation from the educational program.  Technical standards are necessary to create specific expectations for student performance in the classroom, laboratory and clinical education environments.  Students are to familiarize themselves with these essential functions and determine whether or not they are able to perform the specified tasks.  Technical standards must be met with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with The Americans with Disability Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  

Psychomotor Skills

Gross and fine motor skills are required to meet the responsibilities of a physician assistant student in a wide variety of educational and clinical settings.  A student must be able to perform motor movements required to provide general and emergency care to all patients.  These demands include reasonable endurance, strength, equilibrium, and precision.  A student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, diagnostic maneuvers and procedures, and other diagnostic manual maneuvers in a safe and effective manner.  Students must be able to sit, stand, and move within classroom, laboratory, examination room, treatment room, and operating room for long periods of time. The student must have sufficient coordination to move about patient care environments, and sufficient dexterity to use common medical instruments. Students must be able to arrange for transportation between educational and clinical settings.


Observation is an essential component of evaluation and assessment for a physician assistant student.  In general, this requires functional use of vision, hearing and somatic sensation including the ability to perceive position, pressure, movement, weight, and vibration.  A student must be able to demonstrate the following observational skills examination of non-verbal patient and family communication, skin integrity, radiographic findings, graphic representations of data, changes in body position/movement, gauges on medical instruments and to perform inspection, auscultation and palpation techniques during the physical examination In the classroom, a student must be able to independently observe and participate in laboratory dissection of cadavers, the microscopic analysis of tissues, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations in all courses. 


Effective and sensitive verbal, non-verbal, and written forms of communication must be demonstrated by the Physician Assistant student.  This is necessary in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, assess non-verbal communications, and be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty and staff, and all members of the health care team.  The student must be able to communicate attentively, effectively, and sensitively to others.

Intellectual, Conceptual, and Integrative Abilities

To effectively solve problems, a physician assistant student must be able measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information in a timely manner.  A student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.  A student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate relevant aspects of the patient history and examination findings, be able to understand diagnostic testing and treatment regimens in order to develop an accurate diagnosis and determine an effective treatment plan within reasonable time constraints imposed by the needs of the patient, the facility, and the standards of care. 

Affective, Behavioral, and Social Capabilities

Empathy, compassion, integrity, honesty, concern for others, good interpersonal skills, interest, commitment, and motivation are all required personal characteristics that a physician assistant student must possess.  A student must possess adequate mental and emotional health necessary for the full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment, academic honesty, maintenance of patient confidentiality, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients and course assignments; and the development of mature sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and others.  A PA student must also be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical situations.  A student is expected to be able to accept and reflect upon appropriate suggestions and criticisms and, if necessary, respond by modifying personal behaviors.  A student should also conduct him/herself at all times in a manner consistent with the American Academy of Physician Assistants ”Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of the Physician Assistant Profession.”

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