Technical Standards

The technical standards outlined below are the physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities required for students to successfully complete the Physician Assistant Program.  These requirements must be met by all students, with or without reasonable accommodations, entering the program.

Students have the responsibility to self-identify as a person with a disability with a need for accommodation(s).  Students who have or believe they may have a disability requiring accommodation(s) should contact the UAMS ADA Coordinator at  or 501-526-5641.

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


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


  • 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.
  • Perceive non-verbal patient communication and describe changes in mood, posture, and activity.
  • Effectively, sensitively, and compassionately communicate with patients, family members, and other health care providers both orally and through written communication.

Sensory and Motor Coordination

  • Sufficient motor and sensory function to elicit information from palpation, auscultation, percussion, and performing specific diagnostic procedures.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Possess physical stamina sufficient to complete intensive didactic and clinical training, which may include 50-pound weight limit, prolonged periods of sitting, standing, holding instruments or rapid ambulation.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrate appropriate judgment and time management in patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

  • Possess maturity, professionalism, integrity, responsibility, and genuine concern for others. Be able to exercise sound judgment in all aspects of medical care to assure the highest quality of patient care and continuity.
  • 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.
  • Possess the emotional health to effectively develop compassionate relationships, 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.
  • Adapt to changing environments, understand limitations, utilize supervision appropriately, and have the ability to perform independently when indicated.
  • Accept constructive criticism and respond to the situation by appropriately modifying verbal and non-verbal behavior.

In addition to the above technical standards, 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.