Skip Navigation

Technical Standards for Admissions

school of community medicine website wordmark
OU Tulsa Homepage Community Medicine Homepage
Skip Side Navigation

Technical Standards for Admission

The technical standards for admission set forth by the Physician Assistant (PA) program establish the expectations and requisite abilities considered essential for students admitted to this Program to achieve the levels of competency stipulated for graduation by faculty, the professional program accrediting agency (the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant [ARC-PA]), and the State of Oklahoma.

A candidate for the MHS degree as a PA shall have abilities and skills of five varieties; including observation; communication; motor; intellectual-conceptual and quantitative; and behavioral and social.  Technological accommodations can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but the role of the PA in the delivery of healthcare necessitates that he/she shall be able to perform in an independent manner.

  1. Observation:  The candidate shall be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.  A candidate shall be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.  Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation which are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
  2. Communication:  A candidate shall be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications.  A candidate shall be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients.  Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing.  Candidates shall be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form in English with members of the healthcare team.
  3. Motor:  Candidates shall have sufficient motor functions to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers.  A candidate shall be able to perform basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), carry out procedures (intubation, pelvic exams, etc.), and read EKGs and x-rays.  A candidate shall be able to execute motor movements required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.  Examples of emergency treatment required of PAs are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medications, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, suturing wounds, and the performance of obstetrical and surgical maneuvers.  Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  4. Intellectual-Conceptual and Quantitative Abilities:  These abilities include being able to perceive all manner of sensory stimuli, including verbal, written, visual, auditory, somatic, tactile, and olfactory.  The candidate must be able to synthesize and integrate the aforementioned sensory inputs and apply them to patient care, objective and subjective examinations in a timely manner.  The candidate must be able to achieve all of this under stress and in a highly distractible environment.  
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes:  A candidate shall possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.  Candidates shall be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress.  They shall be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties in the clinical problems of many patients.  Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and education processes.

Candidates for admission to the Physician Assistant Program who are invited for an on-campus interview are required to certify that they understand and meet these technical standards. Candidates must provide such certification on the day of their interview. Candidates who may not meet the technical standards are encouraged to contact the Director of Admissions to discuss and identify what accommodations, if any, the university and/or the Program would need to make in order that the candidate might be able to meet the standards.