Technical Standards

Physician Assistant

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (Public Law 101-336) was established to empower qualified persons with disabilities to seek employment opportunities, transportation, and access to programs and services without fear of discrimination. The Physician Assistant Program at D'Youville College is prepared to make reasonable modifications to policies and practices in order to allow students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate and succeed in the academic program. No otherwise qualified person shall be excluded from participation, admission, matriculation, or denied benefits solely by reason of his or her disability. The Physician Assistant Program will not discriminate against qualified individuals but will expect applicants and students to meet certain minimum academic and technical standards. In carrying out their functions, the program will be guided by the technical standards set forth in this proposal.

The holder of a Physician Assistant Certificate must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. In order to carry out the activities described below, candidates for the PA certificate must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, and hearing. Their exteroceptive (touch, pain, temperature) and proprioceptive (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact in the upper extremities to enable them to carry out all activities required for a complete PA education. Candidates must have motor function capabilities to meet the demands of PA education and the demands of total patient care.

A candidate for the PA certificate must have abilities, attributes, and skills in five major areas: 1) observation, 2) communication, 3) motor, 4) intellectual, including conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities, and 5) behavioral and social.

  1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision and somatic sensation to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at close range and at a distance.
  2. Communication: Candidates and students should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. They must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the healthcare team.
  3. Motor: Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation and percussion, as well as carry out diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and sensation.
  4. 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 of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their 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. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and consciousness of social values. A candidate must possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems. Candidates and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and 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.

The D'Youville College Physician Assistant Program and its sponsoring institutions will attempt to develop creative ways of opening the Program to competitive, qualified individuals with disabilities. In doing so, however, the Program and sponsoring institutions must maintain the integrity of the curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the education of a Physician Assistant. The Program and sponsoring institutions cannot compromise the health and safety of patients. It is inevitable that adherence to minimum requirements will disqualify some applicants and students, including some who have a disability. Exclusion of such an individual, however, does not constitute unlawful discrimination. An applicant or student who is unable to meet the minimum academic and technical standards is not qualified for the practice of the profession.

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