Technical Standards

Technical Standards in Physician Assistant education establish the minimal physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social skills needed to reasonably assure that a student can successfully complete the entire didactic curriculum and can competently participate in and complete the clinical phase of the program.  Students accepted into the program must have a thorough understanding of the technical standards and acknowledge that they have the ability to complete the technical standards before matriculation into the UAMS Physician Assistant Program.  After students have enrolled in the program, the Progress and Advancement Committee will continually monitor each student for the compliance with the technical standards.  Students must develop the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively function as a medical provider in a wide variety of clinical situations and environments.

All students enrolled in the UAMS Physician Assistant Program must possess the following abilities and skills:


  1. Observe demonstrations and participate in classroom, laboratory and clinical instruction.
  2. Accurately observe a patient for verbal, behavioral and physical signs at a distance and at close proximity utilizing vision, hearing and other sensory abilities.


  1. Effectively speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit a history from a patient and accurately relay the information to other health care providers in oral, written and electronic communication.
  2. Perceive non-verbal patient communication and describe changes in mood, posture and activity.
  3. Effectively, sensitively and compassionately communicate with patients, family members and other health care providers both orally and through written communication.

Sensory and Motor Coordination

  1. Sufficient motor and sensory function to elicit information from palpation, auscultation, percussion and performing specific diagnostic procedures.
  2. Sufficient motor function to effectively provide basic medical care and emergency management for patients such as airway management, catheter placement, advanced cardiac life support, etc.
  3. Utilize and manipulate instruments and medical equipment effectively to perform laboratory tests, clinical procedures, and surgical procedures required to successfully complete components of the didactic and clinical curriculum (ex. Stethoscope, suturing, surgical assisting, lumbar puncture, etc.).  These skills require coordination of gross and fine motor skills, equilibrium, vision, hearing, and touch.
  4. Possess physical stamina sufficient to complete intensive didactic and clinical training which may include prolonged periods of sitting, standing, holding instruments or rapid ambulation.


  1. Obtain, interpret, analyze, integrate, summarize and apply information from direct observation, oral and written communication, medical literature, and diagnostic information.  Clinical reasoning and problem solving are essential skills for physician assistants.
  2. Elicit and interpret information from medical histories, medical records, physical examinations, labs and diagnostic tests and then formulate a differential diagnosis, diagnosis and management plan for patients in an efficient and effective manner in potentially rapidly changing and unpredictable environments.
  3. Demonstrate appropriate judgment and time management in patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

  1. Possess maturity, professionalism, integrity, responsibility, genuine concern for others, and be able to exercise sound judgment in all aspects of medical care to assure the highest quality of patient care and continuity.
  2. Possess interpersonal skills to positively interact with patients, family members, health care providers and the community from all cultural backgrounds and beliefs including but not limited to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age, faith, sexual orientation and disability.
  3. Possess the emotional health to effectively develop compassionate relationships and diagnose disease and manage patient care.  Students must be able to tolerate physical, mental, and emotional stress in training and continue to function effectively under stressful and/or emergent situations.
  4. Adapt to changing environments, understand limitations, utilize supervision appropriately but have the ability to perform independently when indicated.
  5. Accept constructive criticism and respond to the situation by appropriately modifying verbal and non-verbal behavior.

Students are required to attend all classes, laboratories, educational activities and patient experiences.  They are also required to master effective communication techniques, physical examination skills, technical clinical procedures, and advanced cardiac life support during the didactic phase of the program.  During the clinical phase of the program, students must successfully complete the summative evaluation and all core and elective rotations which may include early mornings, evenings, nights, weekends and extended hours.  Students will observe holidays that are observed by the clinical site.  It is the responsibility of the students to be able to transport themselves in a timely manner to all clinical training sites to participate in educational training and patient care responsibilities.