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Technical Standards

This policy defines the requirements for an individual to successfully matriculate into and complete the University of California San Diego School of Medicine Atkinson Physician Assistant Education Program curriculum. Learners admitted to the program must possess the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes to complete the core educational requirements to achieve the Master of Advanced Study in Physician Assistant Studies degree (MAS-PAS). The following abilities and characteristics, defined as technical standards, are requirements for admission, retention, progression, and graduation.

All candidates for the MAS-PAS degree must be able to meet these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation.

The learner should be able to:
  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses, such as lectures, groups, and physical demonstrations.
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval).
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, and videos with audio descriptions and transparencies.
  • Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, and verbal and non-verbal communication.

The learner should be able to:
  • Communicate with patients to elicit information and succinctly and effectively document changes in mood and activity.
  • Perceive and appropriately respond to patients to establish a therapeutic relationship and to communicate in person and in writing via English.
  • Establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families, and groups from various social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  • Obtain information from lectures, demonstrations, and experiments.
  • Assess a patient and evaluate findings accurately. These skills require using vision, hearing, and touch or the functional equivalent.

The learner should be able to:
  • Possess the capacity to perform a physical examination and perform diagnostic maneuvers.
  • Execute some motor movements required to provide general care to patients and provide or direct emergency treatment of patients. Such actions require gross and fine muscular movements, balance, and equilibrium coordination.
  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in patient care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments.
  • Practice safely and appropriately providing patient care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures and perform universal precautions against contamination.

The learner should be able to:
  • Assimilate detailed and complex information presented in both didactic and clinical coursework and engage in problem-solving.
  • Measure, calculate, analyze, and synthesize subjective and objective data.
  • Comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  • Read and search the medical literature independently and incorporate findings into the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • Adapt to different learning environments and modalities.

The learner should be able to:
  • Exhibit sufficient maturity and emotional stability required to utilize their intellectual abilities fully.
  • Exercise good judgment and prompt completion of responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients.
  • Exhibit integrity, honesty, professionalism, and compassion, and are expected to display a spirit of cooperation and teamwork.
  • Tolerate physically taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, and adapt to changing environments.
  • Display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in patients' clinical problems.
  • Contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments and accept constructive feedback from others.
  • Take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes.
  • Demonstrate compassion for others, a consciousness of social values, and sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, expression, sexual orientation, disability, and belief systems.

The learner should be able to:
  • Maintain the highest level of professional behavior.
  • Possess and demonstrate the emotional maturity needed to participate fully in training.
  • Exhibit regular, reliable, and punctual attendance at all learning events and clinical assignments, understanding that this may require physical presence during the day, evening, or overnight hours and any day of the week, often with very early morning reporting times.
  • Maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of a physician assistant in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, clinical team members, fellow learners, and the public.
  • Always understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine and function within the law and ethical standards of the medical profession.
  • Travel to and live in remote, rural, or distant locations.
  • Provide and maintain reliable transportation.
  • Secure housing and plan for added expenses.
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow program rules, codes of conduct, and all UC San Diego policies.

To evaluate competence, the program employs periodic assessment in various formats, including oral, written, and practical, as an essential component of the curriculum. Successful completion of these assessments is required of all learners as a condition for continued progress through the curriculum.

Demonstration of clinical competence is of fundamental importance to the program. Attending to the needs and care of the patient is tantamount to the practice of medicine. The process of preceptor evaluations of a learner’s clinical performance is an integral and essential component of the curriculum. In addition, learners must meet program expectations for each clinical experience.