Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Admission to the PA Program

Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) has specific technical standards that apply to all candidates for admission and those who are selected to enter the program.  Students selected to enter the program must have the capacity to complete the entire course curriculum to achieve the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree.  Accommodations may be possible for some disabilities, but the Physician Assistant’s (PA) role in the provision of health care requires that he or she be able to perform in an independent manner that does not compromise patient care.

In order to perform the functions required of a physician assistant in a variety of clinical situations and render competent patient care stipulated by the faculty, accreditation agencies, and the standards of practice as a PA, candidates/students for the program must meet the Technical Standards:

  1. Observation: Students must be able to observe demonstrations, visual presentations, lectures, and laboratory studies in the basic medical and clinical settings.  The candidate must be able to accurately observe a patient both close and at a distance; this requires functional use of vision, sensation, and smell. Adequate visual capabilities are necessary for proper evaluation and treatment integration, including the assessment of symmetry, range of motion, and tissue texture changes.
  2. Communication: Students must be able to speak, hear, and observe patients to gather pertinent data, describe their observations (including activity and function, mood, and posture) and be able to perceive nonverbal communications.  Students must be able to effectively communicate with patients, families, faculty, and colleagues from different cultural backgrounds in oral, written, computer and telephonic formats.
  3. Motor and Sensory: Students must have gross and fine motor function and coordination in order to auscultate, palpate, and percuss as well as the ability to use appropriate diagnostic techniques and instruments to provide routine and emergent medical care and common diagnostic procedures  such as, but not limited to, performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, advanced cardiac life support, administering intravenous medications, suturing of simple and complex wounds, treatment of respiratory distress or bleeding, and routine obstetric and gynecologic care, as well as assisting in surgery.  Students should have adequate sensory skills, including tactile sensory and proprioceptive capability.  Students must be able to transport themselves from one location to another in a timely fashion in order to facilitate patient care responsibilities and to receive educational training. Strength, mobility and endurance: Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads.
  4. Cognitive, Integrative, and Quantitative Skill: Students must exhibit skills in problem solving, and critical thinking, measurement, calculation, and comprehension of three dimensional relationships consistent with medical practice.  Students must be able to assimilate and learn large amounts of complex, technically detailed information in the form of lectures, discussions, videos, handouts, and clinical exam demonstrations and to synthesize and apply concepts arising from it to create diagnostic and therapeutic plans.
  5. Behavioral and Social Skills: Students must possess sufficient emotional health to allow them to optimally utilize intellectual, cognitive, and reasoning judgment required of medical professionals and be able to quickly complete all duties and responsibilities commensurate with effective diagnosis and treatment of patients of all ages.  Students must be able to demonstrate empathy, sensitivity, and the ability to quickly establish rapport with patients, exhibiting adequate interpersonal communication skills, compassion, concern for others, honesty, and integrity.  Students must be able to tolerate physically demanding workloads (which may involve nights, weekends, and on call), noisy environments, and long hours.  Students need to be able to maintain composure and emotional stability in challenging and stressful, changing circumstances and to deal effectively with uncertain, possibly emotionally charged situations. Students must be able to accept constructive criticism and respond via appropriate behavior modification. Students must be able to complete all assignments and activities as assigned by the program.  Students must be able to attend all classes, labs, examinations, and rotations on time and act in a professional manner.

The PA program at Concordia University Wisconsin has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for selection and evaluation of students, design, implementation and evaluation of curriculum, and determination of who will be awarded a degree and certificate of completion.  Admission, retention, program completion, and graduation decisions are made based on satisfactory academic and clinical performance and upon nonacademic, behavioral factors which serve to ensure overall success in the PA profession.

Candidates for admission to the Concordia University Wisconsin’s PA program will be required, if admitted, to certify in writing that they understand and meet the above technical standards.  Candidates who feel that they may not or cannot meet these technical standards will need to contact the Learning Resource Center.

Concordia University will attempt, to the best of its ability, to develop mechanisms by which otherwise qualified candidates for admission can be accommodated; however, the integrity of the curriculum and the need to provide optimal patient care must be maintained in order to ensure that all parts of PA education are delivered to all students.