Technical standards

For admission to and continuance in the Wayne State University Physician Assistant Studies program

The granting of the Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies signifies that the holder of such a degree is prepared for entry into the practice of medicine collaborating with a physician. This degree is, and must remain, a broad undifferentiated degree attesting to the mastery of general knowledge in all fields requisite for the practice of medicine. It follows from this that graduates must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. The Wayne State University Physician Assistant Studies program acknowledges section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 public law 93-112. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Public Law 101-336), and the Michigan Handicappers Civil Rights Act, and ascertains that graduates from the program must possess certain minimum technical capabilities.

The Physician Assistant Studies program's obligation is to seek candidates who will be best able to serve the needs of society and to graduate effective and competent physician assistants. The following principles and technical standards will be implemented to achieve this goal.


  • Technical Standards refers to criteria that go beyond academic requirements for admission (e.g. GRE, GPA, evaluations) and are essential to meeting the academic requirements of the program.
  • Students with or without disabilities applying to the Physician Assistant Studies Program will be expected to have met the same requirements.
  • Matriculation in the Program assumes a certain level of cognitive and technical skills. Students with disabilities will be held to the same fundamental standards as their peers. Although not all students should be expected to gain the same level of all technical skills, mastery of some skills is so essential that it must be achieved, with the assistance of reasonable accommodation where necessary.
  • Reasonable accommodation will be provided to assist in learning, performing and satisfying the fundamental standards.
  • Every reasonable attempt will be made to facilitate the progress of students where it does not compromise the College or Program's standards or interfere with the rights of other students and patients.
  • Technological accommodations can be made for some handicaps in certain areas of the curriculum, but a candidate must meet the essential technical standards so that he or she will be able to perform in a reasonably autonomous manner. The need for personal aids, assistance, caregivers, readers, and interpreters, therefore, may not be acceptable in certain phases of the curriculum, particularly during the second year of the program.
  • When not the responsibility of the student, costs of necessary accommodations should be reasonable and will be properly borne by the University.
  • Applicants, students, and matriculates who believe that they have not received adequate consideration because of the disability may appeal to the college which will review appeals on a case by case basis.

Technical standards

A candidate for the Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies must possess abilities and skills, which include those that are observational, communicational, motor, intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative, and behavioral and social. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable in many clinical situations in that it implies that a candidate's judgment must be mediated by someone else's power of selection and observation.

 I. Observation

The candidate must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic and medical sciences. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance, and close at hand, to acquire information from written documents, and to visualize information as presented in images from paper, film, slides or video. A candidate must also be able to interpret x-ray and other graphic images, and digital or analog representatives of physiological phenomenon (such as EKG's) with or without the use of assistive devices. Such observation and information acquisition necessities the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. In any case, where a candidate's ability to observe or acquire information through these sensory modalities is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate alternative means and / or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information conveyed in this fashion. If the alternatives are acceptable, it is expected that obtaining and using alternative means and/or abilities shall be the responsibility of the student.

II. Communication

A candidate must be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients by sight in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes speech, reading, and writing. The candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.

III.  Motor

It is required that a candidate possess the motor skills necessary to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic procedures. The candidate must be able to execute motor movement reasonably required to provide general and emergency medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, application of pressure to control bleeding, suturing of wounds and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. 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

The candidate must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize. In addition, the candidate must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. The candidate must be able to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion as determined by the educational and/or clinical setting throughout the entire WSU PAS program.

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes

The candidate must possess the 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. The candidate must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. He/she 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 patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes.

The program will consider for admission applicants who demonstrate the ability to acquire the knowledge necessary for the practice of medicine, as well as the ability to perform or to learn to perform skills as described in this document. Students will be judged not only on their scholastic accomplishments but also on their physical and emotional capacities to meet the full requirements of the Program's curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective clinical practitioners.

Physician Assistant students are expected to meet all of the standards upon admission to and throughout the entire educational program, as outlined in this document. The Technical Standards are in place to insure that students with impaired intellectual, physical and / or emotional functioning do not place the educational process and patients in jeopardy.

Students who develop conditions while in the Program which may impair their ability to meet the technical standards, will be reevaluated. If the student's abilities appear to be compromised, the Program Director may require a physician and/or other assessment of the student's cognitive, psychological, or physical abilities. After review of the available information, the Program Director may terminate a student's enrollment if the student does not meet the technical standards.

 April 2010