Technical Standards

The Physician Assistant Certificate/Master of Health Science degree signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the practice of medicine.  It follows that the graduate must have the knowledge, skills and abilities 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. In the education of physician assistant students, the University must judge not only the scholastic accomplishments but also considers the student's current physical and emotional status, immunization and titer status, cumulative and progressive disability, "medical condition(s)", and drug-induced impairments that may pose obstacles to the safe application of the student's knowledge and skills or prevent effective interaction with patients.

"Medical condition" includes physical, physiological, mental or psychological conditions or disorders, such as, but not limited to chronic and/or uncorrected orthopedic, visual, speech, or hearing impairments, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis or other neuromuscular disorders, behavioral health illness, dementia, drug addiction and alcoholism. The PA student must be able to prove adequate and appropriate immunization and titer status.

Physician assistant students are reviewed individually and on a case-by-case basis using the factors listed below. In accordance with University policy and as delineated by Federal and Connecticut law, the University does not discriminate in admissions, educational programs or employment against any individual on the basis of that individual's disability and will make good faith efforts at providing reasonable accommodation as required.

Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant students must possess the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, equilibrium and taste. Their exteroceptor (touch, pain and temperature) and proprioceptor (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to enable them to carry out all the activities required to complete the activities described below. PA students must have sufficient motor function capabilities to meet the demands of the PA program and the demands of the total patient care.

Students in the Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant Program must possess ability, aptitude and skills in the following areas: observation, communication, motor, intellectual-conceptual-integrative, behavioral, social and physical.

The PA student must be able to observe and actively participate in demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory diagnostic procedures and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues/fluids in normal and pathologic states. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately and completely at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation and is enhanced by a sense of smell.

The student must 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. The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. They must be able to express and exchange ideas by means of the spoken word. The student must demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication in the English language. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Communication in oral and written form with the health care team must be effective and efficient.

The student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. The student must be able to carry out  basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, complete blood count, wet mount, gram stain, etc.) carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (phlebotomy, venipuncture, injections, placement of catheters, IVs and tubes), and read electrocardiograms and X-rays. The student must 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 wounds, the application of casts and splints and the performance of obstetrical maneuvers. Such skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities:
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of PAs requires all these abilities. The student must also be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. The PA student must possess sufficient intellectual capacity and maturity to fulfill the curricular requirements of the various basic medical science and clinical courses. They must demonstrate the ability to collect, synthesize and analyze complex medical and laboratory data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions. The PA student must demonstrate the ability to read and comprehend technical materials, medical and/or laboratory reports and medical text and journals to define complex problems and prepare solutions. The PA student must be able to apply knowledge of biomedical principles to the process of information gathering. They must be able to identify and integrate findings pertinent to the process of problem identification in order to formulate and implement adequate and appropriate diagnostic and/or therapeutic plans.

Behavioral and Social Attributes:
The PA student must possess the emotional and mental 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. The PA student must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads, effectively carry out responsibilities and to function effectively under stress. They must possess sufficient emotional stability to withstand stress, uncertainties and changing circumstances that characterize the dependent practice of medicine. They must 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. The PA student must possess the physical and mental capacity to meet all of the program's academic standards (classroom and clinical). The PA student must be able to work with and cooperate with faculty, students, staff, preceptors, healthcare professionals, the public and employees at all levels.  Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the PA education process.

Physical Demands:
The PA student must possess the physical ability to learn and implement the various technical skills required by the program. The PA student must possess an adequate range of body motion and mobility, with or without accommodation to perform the following essential functions:  prolonged periods of sitting and/or standing, occasional bending and stooping and the ability to lift and carry books and other items such as medical instruments weighing up to ten (10) pounds with or without accommodation. They must be able to exert up to ten (10) pounds of force occasionally, and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push or pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.

Ability to Practice Medicine:
The PA student must demonstrate the ability to practice medicine. The ability to practice medicine is to be construed to include all of the following:

  • The cognitive capacity to make appropriate clinical diagnoses and exercise reason medical judgments and to learn and keep abreast of medical developments;
  • The ability to communicate those judgments and medical information to patients and other healthcare providers with or without the use of aids or devices, such as a voice amplifier and;
  • The physical and mental capability to fully perform medical tasks such as physical examination and surgical procedures, without limitations, with or without the use of simple aids or devices, such as corrective lenses or hearing aids.

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