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Physician Assistant Program

TECHNICAL STANDARDS

The Charleston Southern University PA Program requires that all of our PA students meet technical standards for matriculation, continuation in and graduation from the program.  These skills are necessary to master the educational content of the didactic and clinical year curricula, with the ultimate goal of safely and competently caring for patients.  The practice of medicine demands not only high intellectual capability, but also the ability to communicate effectively and compassionately with patients and the health care team, function appropriately in stressful situations, assess the patient through various sensory and motor skills, learn and master content through a variety of teaching modalities and adapt to the ever-changing health care environment.

The following Technical Standards are necessary for acceptance to and continuation in the program:

Observation

The student must possess the ability to accurately perceive information through sensory input in the educational and patient care settings. Visual (near and distance), auditory, tactile and olfactory senses are used to assess the patient and disease processes.  Additionally, the ability to observe non-verbal cues such as posture and body language is needed for diagnostic information and healthy patient-provider interactions. 

Multiple instructional methods are used throughout the program and the student must be able to learn from all of the following: auditory instruction, written materials and visual aids, hands-on kinesthetic learning and demonstrations, microscopic and diagnostic images, and physical examination. 

Communication

Accurate, timely and professional communication is essential in all aspects of health care.  The student must be able to speak clearly, effectively and compassionately in all interactions.  The student must be able to hear and understand spoken English language and listen for more subtle sounds on physical examination.  

The student must be able to use hand-written and electronic methods to complete assignments in a timely manner, accurately and sensitively document patient encounters and communicate with the health care team and any other relevant parties. 

Motor

Intact gross and fine motor functions, sensation and equilibrium are necessary for PA curriculum completion and for patient care.  The student must be able to execute coordinated movements in order to manipulate medical equipment and instrumentation and to perform medical procedures.  One must be able to conduct a physical exam using palpation, percussion and auscultation, while being able to assist with patient movements and transfers.  

Cognitive

The intellectual ability to assimilate large amounts of complex information is necessary for successful completion of the PA Program.  A PA must be able to extract and synthesize significant information from the medical history, physical exam and diagnostic testing to formulate diagnoses and care plans.  Problem-solving skills within time constraints, given written, verbal and visual information are essential for program success.  Additionally, one must be able to comprehend and retain information learned from the educational process, medical literature, clinical experience and continuing medical education to deliver quality patient care.   Critical thinking by using knowledge and reasoning to complete tasks, as well as to analyze, implement, assess and reassess patient information and care plans is also required. 

Behavioral

The program expects that all students will conduct themselves in a professional, compassionate and emotionally mature manner.  Professional dress, language and actions are expected of the PA student.  The student is to be respectful to others, including but not limited to other classmates, instructors and staff, health care team members, as well as patients and family members. 

The emotionally mature student can accept criticism and respond by modifying behaviors.  One must exercise sound judgment and integrity in all situations and be able to tolerate stress in the educational and clinical settings.  The student will also be able to engage in appropriate physical contact with the patient during the physical examination and exhibit sensitivity to the personal nature of these interactions by using a caring bedside manner. 

The successful practice of medicine requires one to be adaptable, flexible and compassionate towards people from all backgrounds and belief systems.  The student will develop appropriate interpersonal relationships with others and strive to engage, motivate and educate patients as part of the comprehensive treatment plan.   

The PA student will demonstrate safe, ethical, and legal professional practice and abide by program and University policies.  It is important to recognize one’s own personal and professional limitations and seek assistance when needed. 

Inquiries

Students who are accepted to the program and believe they require accommodations should review the requirements and procedures for special accommodations on the CSU Disability Services website.

Approval for accommodations is granted by CSU Disability Services only. Students may contact the office at 843-863-7159. Students who have been approved to receive accommodations must contact the course director during office hours to discuss the accommodations approved by CSU Disability Services.

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