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Technical Standards

Scope of Policy: The technical standards for the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University Physician Assistant Program have been established to ensure that students have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery and competence when performing clinical skills, and the ability to communicate clinical information. These technical standards are intended to ensure that each student has the academic and physical ability to acquire competencies, as defined by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the Accreditation Review Commission for Education of the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). The technical standards are consistent with the technical standards set forth by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The candidate for successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program must be able to perform the following skills:

I. Observation: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.

II. Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit both verbal and non-verbal information, and must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with and about patients.

Communication therefore includes speech, reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with the patient, the patient’s family, and all members of the healthcare team, including referral sources such as agencies and other physicians.

III. Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to carry out basic laboratory techniques and to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Candidates must be able to perform anatomical dissections. They must have sufficient motor ability to use a microscope. A candidate should have the motor skills which will allow him/her to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, gram stain, preparation of a blood smear, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.), perform and read EKGs and read X-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physician assistants are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple, general gynecologic procedures. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the physical and emotional 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. Candidates must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admission and education process.

The faculty of Temple University Physician Assistant Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for the PA degree who have the knowledge, attitudes and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a broad spectrum of patient care.

For more information about the Physician Assistant Program's accreditation status, please view the Accreditation Statement.