Technical Standards

Physician Assistant Studies

(ARC-PA Standard A3.15e)

PA Studies Program Specific Essential Functions (Technical Standards) Requirements for Admissions and Retention

Requirements for Admission, Promotion, Continuation and Graduation

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) PA Studies Program is committed to the mission of providing competent, caring PAs through quality medical education. The PA Studies Program recognizes that the MPAS degree is one requiring the acquisition of foundational knowledge and basic skills in all fields of medicine. It also includes the development of the discipline of life-long learning and critical judgment in preparation for the high-level decision making required in medical practice.

The UNR Med PA Studies Program retains the freedom and ultimate responsibility for the selection of students; the design, implementation, evaluation of its curriculum; evaluation of students, and the final determination of successful completion of the MPAS degree. Admissions, promotion, continuation, and graduation decisions are based on academic factors, which include both cognitive and non-cognitive elements. These serve to ensure that the candidate can meet the requirements of the academic program required for graduation and successful passing of licensing examinations.

The UNR Med PA Studies Program is committed to the principle of equal opportunity and as such deplores all forms of discrimination. As part of this policy, the UNR Med PA Studies Program encourages applications from people of all colors, races, creeds, religions, national origins, genders, sexual orientations, ages, or disabilities, both visible and invisible.

During the admissions process, qualified candidates* with disabilities will be considered without regard to their ability status by the PA Admissions Committee in accordance with the Essential Functions Requirements of UNR Med. Necessary accommodations to assist the candidate successfully meet the requirements for graduation from the PA Program must be planned and discussed with the appropriate committees prior to matriculation. Disabilities occurring after matriculation are dealt with on an individual basis by the PA Student Progress Committee in accordance with the Essential Functions Requirements to meet the needs of the candidate and the school.

The faculty has established essential functions criteria to ensure careful and individual attention to the needs of each candidate and to meet UNR Med's responsibility to society of providing competent caring PAs. Reasonable technical accommodations can be made to facilitate the progress of the disabled candidate in areas where such accommodations do not significantly interfere with the essential functions requirements of the program or significantly affect the rights of other students. A candidate, however, must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

The program recognizes that all candidates for the MPAS degree must demonstrate intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities. Candidates must also demonstrate skills in observation, communication and motor functions, as well as mature behavioral and social attributes.

All accepted candidates are required to attest that they have read and understand their responsibility to meet the essential functions as outlined. The signed form becomes a part of the permanent record of all matriculating candidates.

Observational Skills

Candidates must be able to learn a defined body of information. This information is presented in a variety of formats including, but not limited to, lectures and demonstrations in the basic sciences, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations on computers, observations of microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms, and both microscopic and gross studies of human tissues in normal and pathologic states. Beyond the observational skills necessary to acquire information in the basic sciences, the candidate must possess certain observational skills in assessing the patient. The candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately from a distance and close at hand, as well as observe written and graphic information (such as EKGs and x-rays) regarding the patient. Observing the patient includes the use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation, and is enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. If for any reason the candidate's ability to observe or acquire information through the above-mentioned sensory modalities is inhibited, the candidate must possess the ability to obtain the acquired information, whether basic science or patient related, in an alternative fashion.

Communication Skills

The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively using both oral and written communication skills with patients, their families, and with all members of the health care team using traditional or non-traditional means. The candidate must be able to create and comprehend written materials such as medical records, laboratory reports, and pharmacological prescriptions. The candidate must possess adequate interpersonal skills, empathy toward others, and a willingness to interact cooperatively in all professional environments.

Motor Skills

The candidate must have sufficient motor skills to carry out all necessary procedures involved in the learning of basic and clinical sciences, including those required in the hospital and clinic environment. These include, but are not limited to, physical examinations, surgical, clinical laboratory, and other technical procedures required for diagnosis and treatment. The candidate must possess the motor skills necessary to perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers to complete basic and specialized portions of the physical examination of a patient. The candidate is expected to execute movements and assume reasonable bodily postures required to provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of patients including emergency medical care. The candidate who cannot perform these activities independently must be able to understand and direct others to perform these tasks.

Intellectual/Conceptual Abilities

The candidate must have sufficient cognitive capabilities to assimilate the detailed and complex information presented in formal lectures, small group discussions, individual teaching sessions, and clinical settings. The candidate must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, recall and synthesize information across various modalities. In addition, the candidate should be able to form and test hypotheses, comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships of structure. Problem solving, the critical and essential skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. These problem-solving skills must be performed in a timely fashion.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

The candidate must possess the demeanor and maturity required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate must exercise good judgment in diagnosis and treatment of patients, interaction with faculty, colleagues, staff, and the population in general. Required skills include the ability to function in stressful and demanding environments, and demonstration of the flexibility to cope with changing situations and the ambiguity inherent in medical problem solving.

The candidate must consistently demonstrate compassion, honesty, integrity, concern, and respect for self and others. In addition to possessing an intrinsic desire for excellence, the candidate must possess tolerance for and acceptance of difference, and show interest and motivation to become an effective PA.

Students are expected to demonstrate appropriate behavior at all times in their personal and professional life. Failure to do so can result in dismissal. Examples of inappropriate behavior include but are not limited to substance abuse, sexual harassment other forms of harassment, violent behavior, and illegal activities.

Candidates must understand and accept their roles as health care professionals within their communities. UNR Med retains the right to review and approve or decline any or all requests for accommodation. If a student has a disability that necessitates accommodation to meet the UNR Med Essential Functions, then the student must provide, at his/her own expense, appropriate documentation from a qualified professional describing the disability and setting forth any reasonable accommodations necessary to ensure that the student is able to meet the essential functions.

*Within the context of this form, the term candidate refers to both applicants to the PA program and matriculated students.