Technical Standards

Successful participation in and completion of the PA program requires students to have certain mental and physical abilities, with or without reasonable accommodations. Touro College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding applicants and students with disabilities. The Touro College Office of Student Disability Services is available if further information is required.

Physician Assistants deliver health care in a variety of settings to diverse patient populations. The role of the Physician Assistant demands intelligence, sound judgment, appropriate interpersonal skills and the capacity to react to emergencies in a calm and reasoned manner. Physician Assistants and Physician Assistant students must be able to collect and analyze data, integrate results of diagnostic studies with current treatment standards and solve problems all in the course of providing patient care.

Required mental and physical abilities fall into five major categories: sensory, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social.

  1. Sensory: PA students must have sufficient visual and auditory ability to observe in lecture-learner, laboratory and patient care settings. Sensory skills required in the performance of complete physical examinations utilizing inspection, percussion, palpation and auscultation include adequate vision, hearing, smell and tactile sensation. All senses must be sufficient to observe a patient’s condition and elicit information through history and physical examination. Candidates and students must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and close at-hand, and be able to discern nuances of facial expressions and body language. It is essential for the candidate to have adequate visual capabilities for the integration of evaluation and treatment of the patient. This requires ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion, and tissue color and texture changes. The Physician Assistant Program candidates and students need enhanced ability in their sensory skills, it will be necessary to evaluate for candidacy those individuals who are otherwise qualified, but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals with previous burns, malformations of upper extremities, cicatrix formation and sensory-motor or special sensory deficits.
  2. Motor: Sufficient physical stamina is required to complete the rigorous didactic and clinical portions of the program. The didactic phase of the program requires extended sitting, in contrast to the clinical phase which requires extended standing and moving about various clinical facilities. PA students must be able, with or without accommodation, to elicit information from patients and perform a physical examination. In addition, they must be able to perform therapeutic and diagnostic procedures in addition to negotiating various health care environments, such as outpatient facilities, laboratories and hospitals. Students must have sufficient motor function to execute movement’s essential to provide general and emergency care to patients. Some examples of emergency care reasonably required of physician assistants is cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, the handling of surgical instruments and the performance of basic obstetrical maneuvers. Additionally, the ability to use the electronic medical record as well as take the national physician assistant certification examination which does not offer paper testing necessitate that students are able, with or without reasonable accommodations, to use computer and other electronic devices.
  3. Communication: PA students must be able to read, understand, write and speak English for effective and efficient classroom and laboratory communication. PA students must be able to record and communicate information in a timely, effective and sensitive manner to patients and other members of the health care team. Effective communication needs to be clear and unambiguous. Communication includes face-to-face contact, reading, legible writing and completion of electronic medical records in a timely manner. While eliciting information from patients, the student must be able to identify and describe changes in mood, activity and posture and perceive nonverbal communication. 
  4. Intellectual: PA students must be able to sustain attention, calculate, reason, analyze, assimilate, and recall technically detailed and complex information. Correlating information and problem solving to arrive at a reasonable clinical conclusion in a timely fashion is a basic tenet of clinical practice. Students must be able to learn through a variety of teaching modalities including classroom instruction, small group and collaborative activities, simulated and clinical environments. With rapidly expanding avenues of clinical information, the ability to extract valid, useful and relevant information from the medical literature is also required to formulate accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. In addition, students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: PA students must be able to relate and perform professionally in all aspects of PA training and in a work the clinical environment with patients and other members of the health care team. Students must possess emotional health and maturity for full utilization of intellectual abilities. They need to exercise good judgment, empathy, integrity and honesty in all academic settings and possess sufficient interpersonal skills to develop mature, effective, compassionate and respectful relationships with peers, patients, patient families and caregivers and all member of the health care team. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, changing environments and rotating schedules. The must display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of medicine. Students should take responsibility for their own learning and recognize insufficiencies in knowledge or skills and seek assistance as they strive for excellence. Students are expected to accept suggestions and criticisms and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.