University of Holy Cross

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Technical Standards


A student must be able to observe patients, both at a distance and closely. Observation includes the ability to perceive, using senses and mental abilities, the presentation of information through lectures, small groups and one-to-one interactions, demonstrations and experiments, and written and audiovisual materials. Observation necessitates the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic senses. A student must be able to directly observe a patient's medical condition through history, physical examination, and interpretation of diagnostic studies. Examples of perceptual abilities include but are not limited to: gross and microscopic studies of organisms, cadaver dissections, and various diagnostic tests such as interpretation of echocardiograms, digital and wavelength readings, and graphic or radiographic images. This ability requires functional vision, hearing and somatic sensation. Observe materials presented in the learning environment including audiovisual presentations in lectures and laboratories, microscopic examination of microorganisms, gross organs and tissues in normal and pathologic states.


A student must be able to communicate effectively with patients, teachers and all members of the health care team through oral, written, and electronic forms. A student must be able to convey sensitivity and respect in all communications with patients and their families as well as all members of the health care team. The student must be able to process and communicate information regarding the patient's status accurately and in a timely manner to the physician supervisors and other members of the health care team as well as through appropriate and accurate documentation. These communication skills require the ability to process all information, including recognition of the significance of non-verbal communications, mood, activity, and posture, with immediate assessment of information provided to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiry.


A student must be able to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. A student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers as well as to perform technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and sensation. These motor skills require the ability to manipulate equipment and instruments to perform basic laboratory tests and medical procedures required to attain curricular goals (e.g. needles, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, tongue blades, intravenous equipment, gynecologic speculum, and scalpel). The student must be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium; have sufficient levels of postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to-hand coordination; and to possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving, and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in the clinical and classroom settings.

Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities

A student must be able to apply knowledge and reasoning to solve problems as outlined by the curriculum. A student must be able to solve problems involving measurement; calculation; analyzing, synthesizing and recalling materials; rapid problem solving and rational thought. Problem solving involves the abilities to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures; to measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize objective and subjective data; and to make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and sound clinical judgment. A student must have the capacity to read and comprehend medical literature. They must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient's history, physical findings and diagnostic studies. Students must be able to use this information to develop a diagnosis and to monitor treatment plans and modalities. In addition, a student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures (e.g., macroscopic and microscopic structures). Overall, the student must be able to demonstrate independent decision-making skills.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

A student must be able to possess the ability to use his/her intellectual ability, exercise good judgment, and complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Be adaptable, flexible and able to function in the face of uncertainty within the healthcare team. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and a consciousness of social values. Possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems. Develop relationships with patients and colleagues. As a component of medical education, a student must be able to understand the basis and content of medical ethics and demonstrate ethical behavior. A student must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. A student must be able to adapt to a changing environment and display flexibility and adaptability.


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