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Technical Standards

Technical Standard for Participation in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions

Technical standards refer to those physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum as a student in the PA program. 

The qualified student must possess the mental, physical, and emotional capacities essential to attaining the competencies required to function as a physician assistant. These abilities enable the student to perform tasks required to meet professional requirements and work demands of the practicing physician assistant.

Candidates who posses any disability that would potentially interfere with the attainment of such competencies are encouraged to contact the Manager of Student and Disability Services, or the Director of the PA program, to discuss and identify possible accommodations.

Observation: Candidates must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in team-based learning and lecture settings, the laboratory, and the health care or community setting. Sensory abilities must be adequate to perform appropriate examination and assessments including functional vision and tactile sensation to observe, diagnose, and treat a patient's condition.

Communication: Candidates must possess sufficient ability to communicate one-on-one and in small and large group settings. As a student, one must demonstrate effective and professional verbal and non-verbal communication in academic, community, educational, and health care settings, and be able to demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. 

Motor: Candidates must have the ability to participate in diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures. They must be able to negotiate patient care environments, and be able to move between settings such as the classroom, health care facility, educational, or community setting. Physical stamina sufficient to complete a rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing or moving are required in a variety of learning sites. Candidates must be able to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, maintain equilibrium, and possess functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Intellectual: Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and integrate information as well as be able to comprehend temporal and spatial relationships.

Social: Candidates must exercise good judgment and be able to function effectively in the face of stress, taxing workloads, and the uncertainties inherent in clinical practice. They must be able to maintain mature, sensitive and effective professional relationships with faculty, staff, students, patients, family members, and other members of the health care and/or educational team. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all qualities that will be assessed during the admissions process and throughout the student’s PA education.

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