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PA Program Technical Performance Standards

Students matriculating to the Mount Union Physician Assistant Studies Program must demonstrate the following abilities and skills: visual (observation), oral-auditory (communication), motor, cognitive (intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities), and behavioral and social attributes. Technical standards apply to all enrolled students in the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Accommodation can be made on a reasonable basis for individuals with documented disabilities, and they will be considered, but students should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner, so as not to compromise the integrity of the Physician Assistant Studies Program or profession. Technical Standards for admission, progression, and graduation have been adopted for all Physician Assistant Studies students. All students must meet these minimum standards with or without reasonable accommodation throughout their tenure in the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

The Mount Union Physician Assistant Studies Program commits to providing for the needs of admitted and enrolled students who are qualified individuals with a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), by providing reasonable accommodations to such students. Reasonable accommodations will be made to students on a case-by-case basis. It is the responsibility of the student, however, to review the technical standards for the program and to make their needs known.

The Mount Union Physician Assistant Studies Program has established Technical Standards for its program delineating the minimum physical, cognitive, emotional and social requirements necessary to participate fully in all aspects of academic and clinical education. One’s ability to meet the Technical Standards of the program is a prerequisite for admission and continuation in the program. As noted earlier, applicants and enrolled students must be able to meet all technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations may not:

  • Fundamentally alter the nature of the training program
  • Compromise the essential elements of the program
  • Cause undue financial or administrative burden to the University, hospitals, or clinical sites
  • Endanger the safety of patients, self or others

Any applicant who has a question about whether he or she can meet these standards due to the functional limitations from a disability should contact the University of Mount Union Student Accessibility Services at (330)823-7372 (V/TTY) for a confidential discussion.

All candidates for admission to the Physician Assistant Studies Program, who are accepted, will be required to provide documentation verifying that they understand and meet these technical standards.

PA Technical Performance Standards

  1. Visual (Observation)

    Students must be able to demonstrate sufficient attention and accuracy in observation skills in the lecture hall, laboratory, at the patient’s bedside or in an outpatient setting. Functional use of vision and somatic sensation is necessary. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell. Consistent with the ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion and tissue texture changes, it is necessary for students to have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration. 


    Examples of the required visual skills include, but are not limited to the following: 

    1. Accurate observation of a patient (near and at a distance), recognizing non-verbal cues.
    2. Accurate visualization and discrimination of texts, numbers, patterns, to interpret x-rays and other graphic images, and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomena, such as EKGs, with or without the use of assistive devices.
    3. Accurate identification of changes in color of fluids, skin and culture media.

  2. Oral-Auditory (Communication)

    Students must be able to demonstrate that they can communicate effectively and objectively in both the academic setting and in routine and emergency situations in the clinical health care setting. Throughout the program, the students must show evidence of effective written and verbal English communication skills. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, of all ages and genders, with varying degrees and types of infirmities, of varying cultures, ethnicities and personalities. Students must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the health care team. In emergency situations, students must be able to understand and convey information essential for the safe and effective care of patients in a clear, unambiguous and rapid fashion. In addition, students must have the ability to relate information to and receive information from patients in a caring, articulate and confidential manner.


    Examples of the required oral-auditory (communication) skills include, but are not limited to:

    1. Clear, efficient and intelligible articulation of verbal English language.
    2. Legible, efficient and intelligible written English language.
    3. Accurate and efficient English language reading skills.
    4. Accurate and efficient expressive and receptive communication skills.
    5. Ability to prepare and communicate concise oral and written summaries of patient encounters.
    6. Ability to accurately follow oral and written directions.
    7. Ability to accurately discern and evaluate various components of the spoken voice (pitch, intensity, timbre), percussive notes and auscultatory findings.
  3. Motor

    The students must possess enough physical stamina to sufficiently complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study as is required. Students need to possess coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and integrated use of the senses of touch and vision.


    Examples of the required motor skills include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Functional and sufficient sensory capacity to adequately perform a physical examination and must possess the motor skills necessary to perform palpation, percussion, and auscultation.
    2. Execution of motor movements that allows the provision of general and emergency medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, wound closure and application of pressure to control bleeding.
    3. Physical stamina sufficient to complete long periods of sitting, standing, lifting or moving is required in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.
    4. Demonstration of strength and mobility as needed to assist in surgery, emergency situations and activities associated with daily practice as a physician assistant studies student.
    5. Execution of motor movements to assess patient conditions, provide patient care and participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures.
    6. Properly use clinical instruments and devices for the therapeutic intervention including, but not limited to tuning forks, stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers, Doppler devices, catheters, tubes, etc.
  4. Cognitive (Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities)

    In order to effectively problem solve in the clinical setting and based upon the critical thinking skills demanded of physician assistants, students must be able to demonstrate cognitive skills including, but not limited to intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities.


    Examples of the required cognitive skills include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Demonstrate ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize in a timely fashion.
    2. Demonstrate the ability to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
    3. Demonstrate the ability to acquire, retain and apply new and learned information.
  5. Behavioral and Social

    Students must possess the emotional health and stability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, for the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients and for the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, colleagues, and physicians.


    Examples of the required behavioral and social skills include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Demonstrate ability to tolerate physically taxing workloads and function effectively under stress.
    2. Demonstrate the ability to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation and interpersonal skills and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.